Fiction writing

Music was always Anthony Burgess’s first love

Anthony Burgess, a professional to his finger- tips, knew how to write an arresting first sentence. The locus classicus is his opening to Earthly Powers. But try this for size, a lapel-grabbing start of a piece about William Walton in The Listener: Waking crapulous and apothaneintheloish, as I do most mornings these days, I find a little loud British gramophone music over the (a) bloody mary and (b) raspberry yoghurt helps me adjust to the daily damnation of writing. Apo-what? I have just enough Greek to know that it’s something to do with death; a helpful footnote reminds us that ‘άπο ϴανεΐν ϴέλω’, or ‘I want to die’ are the