• Great Beginnings: How to Get Into the Twin Palms

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Great Beginnings     Comments 8 comments
    Jan
    3

    How to Get Into the Twin PalmsIn this week’s Great Beginnings, let’s take a peek at the opening of Karolina Waclawiak’s How to Get Into the Twin Palms, from the good people at Two Dollar RadioTwin Palms is “the story of Anya, a young woman living alone in a Russian neighborhood in Los Angeles, who struggles to retain her parents’ Polish culture while trying to assimilate into her newly adopted community.” It’s also the book I’m presently reading.

    It opens with the following thought from our first-person narrator:

    It was a strange choice to decide to pass as a Russian.

    What do we think? Quick and punchy, but there’s some meat here. Note that she doesn’t write “It was a strange decision,” but rather “a strange choice to decide.” What does that tell us?

    Does this line make you want to read more?

    (And of course, don’t forget to check out our upcoming seminar/workshop, Great Beginnings. Learn to write opening lines that grab a reader by the throat.)

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    Carrie Winters

    Definitely not the kind of “passing”/assimilation book I’ve read before.

    If she lives in a Russian neighborhood, why is it such a strange choice to choose Russian? Unless she’s saying it’s a strange choice to decide to pass as *anything*. Can we replace Russian with, say, Vietnamese, or Hispanic? Or is it the Russian, specifically, that makes it strange? I want to know more.

    The author’s name makes me think she might be writing from experience. Is that wrong to say, or assume?

    Michael J. Meyers

    I imagine there is plenty of Russian/Polish history, and maybe some bad blood. Perhaps she gets into that in the book. And that’s what makes Russian a “strange choice”?

    I would read this, based on the opening. Or I should say, I’d sit down in the bookstore and read a few pages, and then buy it if she grabs me.

    Michael Kellner

    I appreciate the ambiguity of “strange.” A “strange choice”; not “a great choice” or “a shitty choice” or “a choice that would lead to my brother’s death.” The word leaves the narrative wide open. Strange how? Strange funny? Strange terrible? We must read on to know.

    (Which I would do, fwiw)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poland%E2%80%93Russia_relations

    David Duhr

    I enjoyed “strange,” too, Mike. Good call.

    And thanks for the Wiki link. I shall take its information as gospel.

    Kay

    Your mobile site ate my comment?

    […] Also knocked out Karolina Waclawiak’s How to Get Into the Twin Palms, the opening line of which we’re discussing here. […]

    […] How to Get Into the Twin Palms — Karolina Waclawiak (The opening lines of which we looked at here) […]

    […] How to Get Into the Twin Palms — Karolina Waclawiak (The opening lines of which we looked at here) […]




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