I only read about this today, courtesy of an article in The Guardian this morning. It’s called Le Prix de la Page 112; a prize which asks its judges to read, at first, only page 112 of each novel.
The idea behind the prize was in inspired by a line from Woody Allen film 'Hannah and Her Sisters' – “Don’t forget the poem on page 112. It reminded me of you!” and voilà! The prize came to be!
But the real idea of this is based on the theory that many editors believe that by page 112 readers make up their mind whether they want to continue reading or are bored silly and decide to chuck the book away.
And so I thought, why not select a few books that I had thoroughly enjoyed these past few weeks and turn to their page 112 and see whether it would have inspired me to attempt the book altogether. So here’s a really small excerpt of page of 112 from the novels I’ve tweeted about and my verdict:
‘The Blue Between Sky and Water’ by Susan Abulhawa – excerpt (p. 112)
They would travel with her through the darkness before the sun, across two checkpoints lit with high-beam spotlights from guard towers, wild cats foraging nearby in garbage piles, until they reached the chartered Red Cross Bus, which other families of prisoners with the same prayers in their eyes would also board.
Verdict: Definitely one to read! And I stand by my recommendation that this lyrical, beautifully written, evoking novel is a must-read. Reading these lines, makes me want to read the book again.
‘That Other Me’ by Maha Gargash – excerpt (p.112)
I wipe the surface of the photograph. Although Hareb was nine years older than I, we look close in age: able-bodied men with pride-filled chests pushed so far out that the bottoms of our kandoras hang just above our ankles. David told us to smile, but not knowing how we'd look with our teeth showing, we had decided on manly frowns.
Verdict: bad dreams, hints of a crime, cultural references – yes, I would have definitely been intrigued to read this and this brings further confirmation that I am right in having recommended this book by one of the UAE’s brilliant authors.
‘The Door’ by Magda Szabó – excerpt (p.112)
‘But Emerence had been prone to bitter outbursts all her life. I must have noticed how peculiar they were, a hostility almost without an object. She was as much against Franz Josef as she was against anyone else in a position to influence the history of the nation, even for the good. I didn’t tell him about the lawyer’s son. I sensed that the cause of her rage somehow lay with him. In the end it was the Lieutenant Colonel who provided an explanation: Emerence probably hated power no matter whose hands it was in. If the man existed who could solve the problems of the five continents, she would have taken against him too, because he was successful. In her mind everyone came down to a common denomination – God, the town clerk, the party worker, the king, the executioner, the lead of the UN. But if she experienced a sense of fellow feeling with anyone, her compassion was all-embracing, and this didn’t extend only to the deserving. It was for everyone. Absolutely everyone. Even the guilty.’
Verdict: I would have been intrigued which guilty party Emerence had shown compassion to and would have read on. Also, the book is obviously set in Hungary and it’s a country I don’t know much about its history so that too would have urged me to go on. Lovely read that has been made into a film starring Helen Mirren.
And here are excerpts (p.112) from books that are still on my TO READ list:
‘A Spring Betrayal’ by Tom Callaghan – excerpt (p.112)
‘I still don’t understand why you’re personally involved, Minister,’ I said, keeping my face as expressionless as possible. ‘It’s not as if you don’t have more important matters to tend to.’
Verdict: Foreign country, a cocky inspector, Baltika, a minister, high-up people, complicated love relationship. What more would I want? This is definitely going to be one to read for me. And Soon.
‘Cuckoo Song’ by Frances Hardinge – excerpt (p.112)
‘There was no time to lie prone and breathless. The figures behind the screen were edging forward again.
Verdict: God Yes! Can’t wait to get stuck into this YA novel
‘Bloody Flies’ by Andrew J Keir – excerpt (p.112)
Red pain flashes in her skull. Momentarily insensible, she staggers sideways, loses her footing and drops to her knees. The flash of agony passes; it is replaced by a stabbing throb behind her right ear and rising nausea.
Verdict: I'm definitely intrigued and hate Manni already. But I'm wondering whether things are really what they seem. hmm, Will let you know when I'm done.