Weaving words with such artistry deposits a reader right in the middle of the author's scene. Writers are advised to hook the reader within five pages. Keillor did it with his first two sentences. And I quote from Pontoon, page one...
"Evelyn was an insomniac, so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that. Probably, she was sitting propped up in bed reading and heard the brush of wings and smelled the cold clean air, and the angel appeared like a dear in the bedroom and Evelyn said, 'Not yet; I have to finish this book.' "
Now that's a hook! I started reading it in the parking lot after church tonight, and laughed all the way home. I don't know how many times people have said, "That Keillor is a genius!" or "I laughed until my face hurt!" I guess I was busy reading something else. Trust me, if this turns out to be as good as the first fifty pages, I'm going to be a fan.
When I grow up, I want my books to make people laugh and cry, and if they want to run to the bookstore for the latest, well that would be great, too.