Story openings –ledes in reporter jargon–have to grab, whether they be for a five hundred word news piece or a thousand page novel (“I was in bed with my catamite when Ali the butler knocked on the door to say the bishop had arrived for tea” –or something along those lines would probably keep you reading on, wouldn’t it? And, yes, it is from a real novel. Not quite a thousand pages but not far off. A free China blog t-shirt for the first correct ID.) Anyway, as other bloggers have pointed out, fellow journalists can only stand back and gape in envy at this spectacular specimen on a recent Reuters story by Emma Graham-Harrison:
BEIJING (Reuters) – Only two memories brought tears to Sun Yaoting’s eyes in old age — the day his father cut off his genitals, and the day his family threw away the pickled remains that should have made him a whole man again at death.
(Here’s the link if you want to read the rest of the piece.)