There's a new book prize I read about recently: Le Prix de la Page 112. It was inspired by a line from a Woody Allen film, Hannah and Her Sisters: "Don't forget the poem on page 112. It reminded me of you!" The book referred to in the film was a collection of poems by E. E. Cummings. So the judges of the French prize, Le Prix de la Page 112 are asked only to read page 112.
The theory behind this prize is that page 112 represents the critical point in a book where the reader's attention could potentially lapse.
“Everyone neglects page 112,” the organisers of the prize write. “That’s why we chose it. Our logic is simple. If a remarkable page 112 is rare, then we are permitted to hope that the novel in which it appears might also be remarkable, from beginning to end.” If a novel has a beautiful 112, the jury will read the rest of the book.
|The Long Weekend|
Openings of books are agonised over, honed and polished by the writer, and then by editors, so that they are as perfect as can be. So the hook is usually perfectly formed and the reader ensnared ‑ at least for the first chapters. Most readers would read on a bit further, giving the book a chance, before putting it down if it no longer holds their attention, but if they have made it to page 112, then, it's thought, they are likely to continue.
|City of Thieves|
|A Fine Balance|
This is page 112 of A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, one of my all-time favourite books. I found myself continuing on to read the next page without thinking. So the sign of a very good page 112, I guess.
With the whole of the IT system in Barnet down and librarians unable to access the library catalogues, order or reserve books, looking at page 112 seems like an interesting activity to try out with my teen library group with the books on the shelves in the library. Rather than looking at the cover, reading the blurb and reading the opening pages, we'll be reading page 112 to see if this is a book that grabs us, and if page 112 is blank, then we'll just look at page 111 or page 113.
|Julia Kerninon with her page 112|
This year's winner of Le Prix de la Page 112 was announced on March 30th. Julia Kerninon won the prize for her novel, Le Dernier Amour d'Attila Kiss, but I'll have to wait for the translation to read page 112 for myself.
So what are your favourite page 112s?
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