• 1998: No 3536


    Competition No 3536

    We want the opening paragraph of a novel in the style of a well-known novelist with the last line totally uncharacteristic of that writer.


    First (and only) paragraph of an abandoned manuscript by Marcel Proust.

    When I was a teenager, I went to bed early. Maman would come up to say goodnight, and often she brought with her one of Mr Kipling’s cakes for me to eat in bed. As the exceedingly good taste filled my mouth, I slipped into a dream in which I seemed to relive my early childhood. Once again I was walking out of the village; the tall, elegant poplars swayed in the breeze, and the scent of the marigolds filled my nostrils as I walked along, munching one of Mr Kipling’s cakes. It was on this walk that we so often met that captivating figure, Monsieur… MONSIEUR WHAT’S‑HIS‑FACE… THINGY… YOU KNOW .. OLD GOOSE! GOOSE??? … NO… TURKEY?… O F***!!… HIS NAME’S GONE CLEAN OUT OF MY HEAD… IT’S THESE BLOODY CRUMBS IN MY PYJAMAS… I CAN’T CONCENTRATE ON ANYTHING… I’VE GOT A MEMORY LIKE A SIEVE… SOD IT, I GIVE UP!