Book Beginnings: Walk Through Fire by Zoe Cannon

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What is Book Beginnings?

“Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.” (Source: Rose City Reader)

The Sentence:

Shea knew something was wrong when the birds stopped singing.

– from Walk Through Fire, Chapter One by Zoe Cannon


Okay, so I might have cheated a little here. This book does have a prologue/epigraph style beginning that appears to be an excerpt of sorts from some book of rules. The thing is, considering it is written in purely informational style, I decided it would be more appropriate to use the first sentence of Chapter One. There’s my defense.

That said, just look at this sentence. A sudden silence in any atmosphere comes with a sense of foreboding. We have idioms like “the calm before the storm” or, if you’re fans of the Lord of the Rings film adaptations, Gandalf’s “the deep breath before the plunge.” (If this quote is in the book, I wouldn’t know. I only made it halfway through The Two Towers.) Because I live in Tornado Alley, the sudden silence of wild life is especially worrisome. Presently I’m only about eleven percent into this arc (provided by the author, who also gave me permission to use this quote) so I’m not sure just how worried I should be. I can say that this quote is a prelude to the complete upheaval of the main character’s, Shea’s, present way of life.


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