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S&A, Chp 1


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Posted by Alex Forbes on January 05, 2018 at 15:09:14 user Pitsligo.

Again and again I come back to AR's brilliant chapter 1 of S&A.

First there is, in the first sentence, so much of what you need to know about Roger, his family, his mother's mindset, and the character of his (their) interactions with the world. None of the information is forced, not a word is wasted, and it soaks in effortlessly, allowing us to see the Walkers exactly as we need to for the coming story.

Beyond that, I cannot imagine a better way to introduce the concepts of beating and running to readers who might never have had cause to imagine how a sailboat must interact with the wind. A child zig-zagging up a hill, a little out of breath and wishing he could just run straight into the wind, perfectly anthropomorphizes the concept, and allows us to understand intuitively the intrinsic frustrations of tacking into a wind. Then the way Roger puts his arms out and runs back down the hill makes it clear just what a boat must do, and how much easier is that point of sail.

It is a chapter of genius, giving the reader all they need to know about the central conflict of the story to come: which way will the wind be, in the war with the Amazons? I don't know of any other book that teaches those fundamentals of sailing on so intuitive a level.

As a writer, I am always stunned and delighted by that chapter more than any other.

Just had to rave about it.

Alex


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