A Series of Unfortunate Events
THE MISERABLE MILL
Book the Fourth
For Beatrice -
My love flew like a butterfly
Until death swooped down like a bat
As the poet Emma Montana McElroy said:
"That's the end of that'
Sometime during your life - in fact, very soon - you may find yourself reading a book, and you may notice that a book's first sentence can tell you what kind of story your book contains. For instance, a book that began with the sentence "Once upon a time there was a family of cunning little chipmunks who lived in a hollow tree" would probably contain at story full of talking animals who get into all sorts of mischief. A book that began with the sentence "Emily sat down and looked at the stack of blueberry pancakes her mother had prepared for her, but she was too nervous about Camp Timbertops to eat a bite" would probably contain a story full of giggly girls who have a grand old time. And a book that began with the sentence "Gary smelled the leather of his brand-new catcher's mitt and waited impatiently for his best friend Larry to come around the corner" would probably contain a story full of sweaty boys who win some sort of trophy. And if you liked mischief, a grand old time, or trophies, you would know which book to read, and you could throw the rest of them away.
But this book begins with the sentence "The Baudelaire orphans looked out the grimy window of the train and gazed at the gloomy blackness of the finite forest, wondering if their lives would ever get any better,", and you should be able to tell that the story that follows will be very different from the story of Gary or Emily or the family of cunning little chipmunks. And this is for the simple reason that the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaireare very different from most people's lives, with the main difference being the amount of unhappiness, horror, and despair. The three children have no time to get into all sorts of mischief, because misery follows them whereever they go. They have not had a grand old time since their parents died in a terrible fire. And the only trophy they could win would be some sort of First Prize for Wretchedness. It is atrociously unfair, of course, that the Baudelaires have so many troubles, but that is the way the story goes. So now that I've told you that the first sentence will be "The Baudelaire orphans looked out the grimy window of the train and gazed at the gloomy blackness of the Finite Forest, wondering if their lives would ever get any better, if you wish to avoid an unpleasant story you had best put this book down.
(i sin tid læst op for min søn på dansk, nu har han bestilt bøgerne hjem på engelsk, og de holder meta-max!)