Some authors, within the first few pages of their books, give an impression of great and hard-earned wisdom. Gregory Roberts in “Shantaram” gives it from the opening sentence. Here are a few of the gems of profundity I’ve found in the first fifty pages:
“So it begins, this story, like everything else–with a woman, and a city, and a little bit of luck.”
” I know now it’s the sweet, sweating smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate.”
“But wisdom, in one sense, is the opposite of love. Love survives in us precisely because it isn’t wise.”
“Fate needs accomplices” (which might be my favorite).
I’ve seen this sort of thing, and I know it won’t last. Beginnings of books are always better than endings, because they’ve been polished more, agonized over and rewritten more, loved and loathed more.
But for a while, there are pearls of beautiful wisdom, scattered about descriptions of Bombay so vivid I can practically feel the humidity soaking into my skin, taste the smell of humanity, see the hordes of colors on the mad streets.