How does the opening passage of London Fields prepare the reader for the rest of the novel? From “This is a true story…” to “they just write it down.”
The opening passage of London Fields prepares the reader for the novel's most prominent theme, that of the unreliability of the written word.
The novel is narrated by the failed novelist Sam Young. When the book opens, Sam is chronically ill, and has decided to uproot himself from America to spend his final months in London. When he arrives, he encounters a trio of characters embroiled in a real life murder plot. In the opening passage of the book, he celebrates his luck at having walked into a novel-worthy sequence of events that he merely has to copy onto the page.
What a gift. This page is briefly stained by my tears of gratitude. Novelists don't usually have it so good, do they, when something real happens (something unified, dramatic, and pretty saleable), and they just write it down? (1)
Reading further on in the text, we come to realize how wary and distrustful this first passage should make the reader feel. At this point, Sam still sees himself as the author of the narrative, but as time passes it becomes evident that he...
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