In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.
This week’s First Two Pages essay is markedly different from previous essays in the series. While Lisa Lieberman reflects on the opening of her new novel The Glass Forest, she also analyzes the opening of Graham Greene’s 1955 novel The Quiet American—examining not only the resonance between the two stories but the explicit interrelationship there, a series of comparisons and contrasts that help to illuminate each text.
The Glass Forest is the third in Lieberman’s Cara Walden Mystery Series, after All The Wrong Places and Burning Cold—historical mysteries which, in novelist Clea Simon’s words, hit “the sweet spot between Casablanca and John Le Carré.” Lieberman brings solid background to these historical mysteries—drawing both on her interest in classic films (she’s a critic for Noir City and the founder of blog deathlessprose.com) and her training as a modern European cultural and intellectual historian (her nonfiction books include Dirty War: Terror and Torture in French Algeria and Stalin’s Boots: In the Footsteps of the Failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution).
I hope you’ll appreciate the essay here as much as I did, and check out The Glass Forest and more of Lieberman’s work.
Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.Lieberman-Glass-Forest