First Chapter, First Paragraph

Today I’m joining in with Bibliophile By the Sea to share the first paragraph of a book I’m reading. As you can see it’s called First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday. As readers we are often captivated or turned away by that first paragraph or two. Let’s see what you think about the first paraphraph of my current read.

I’m reading (actually listening to) one of the late Tony Hillerman’s award winning novels, Dance Hall of the Dead. For years no one wrote this style of mystery. It’s set among the Native Americans in southwestern United States. Dance Hall of the Dead features Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, an officer with the Navaho Tribal Police. From the description on the back cover, I know that two Native American boys are missing. Here in the opening paragraph we meet one of the boys, Little Fire God.

Shulawitsi, the Little Fire God, member of the Council of the Gods and Deputy to the Sun, had taped his track shoes to his feet. He had wound the tape as Coach taught him, tight over the arch of the foot. And now the spikes biting into the packed earth of the sheep trail seemed a part of him. He ran with perfectly conditioned grace, his body a machine in motion, his mind detached, attending other things. Just ahead where the trail shifted down the slope of the mesa he would stop — and check his time and allow himself four minute of rest. He knew now with an exultant certainty that he would be ready. His lungs had expanded, his leg muscles hardened. In two days when he led Longhorn and the Council from the ancestral village to Zuni, fatigue would not cause him to forget the words of the great chant, or make any missteps in the ritual dance. And when Shalako came he would be ready to dance all the night without an error. The Salamobis would never have to punish him. He remembered the year when he was nine, and Hu-tu-tu had stumbled on the causeway over Zuni Wash, and the Salamobia had struck him with their yucca wands and everyone had laughed. Even the Navajos had laughed, and they laughed very little at Shalako. They would not laugh at him.

 What do you think? Would you keep reading?

For more First Paragraphs, visit Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea.


About Margot

I'm also known as Joyfully Retired. I love to talk. I love to talk about books I've read, movies I've seen, places I've traveled to, people (especially my children and grandchildren), and Food. On the Quirky Girls Read blog I'm trying to read all the books that have won the major awards and then, of course, talk about them.
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10 Responses to First Chapter, First Paragraph

  1. Ah, yes, because not only do we see what he’s doing now, we understand some of his motivation for his behavior from the glimpses of his backstory. Thanks!

    Here’s MY TT POST and

  2. Staci says:

    I love Hillerman and I could envision this whole scene as i read it!

  3. Annie says:

    Sure, I’ll read it ! Years ago after travelling in Arizona, my husband and I read all Hillerman’s books (in French, and one in English) ! Now they are packed in a boxe and next saturday we’ll give them to my husband’s brother ! I never forgot Jim Chee and Lt Leaphorn and all the marvellous word Hillermann described.

  4. Nise' says:

    I would want to liste to the book to hear all the words right. Nothing slows me down more when I can’t pronounce the words correctly.

  5. kaye says:

    I like Tony Hillerman

  6. Paulita says:

    This looks terrific. I’m so worried for Little Fire God. I want to yell, “Keep running!”

  7. Gwen says:

    I am with Nise’ (and you I guess since you are listening to it), would rather listen so that I knew how to say the names right. Otherwise, I would end up mentally replacing those names as I read with ones that I could pronounce. Yeah, I know, I am crazy.

  8. Harvee says:

    I’ve read Leaphorn detective novels and enjoyed them. This sounds good too.

  9. Listen yes, yes, read — probably not as it too me a while to read that into, some of the unfamilar names slowed me down too much. I am very curious now Margot.

    Thanks for participating; I appreciate that.

  10. jennygirl says:

    Yes I would keep reading. There are so few stories with a Native American setting. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

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