HH Com 563

After the Eclipse" by Tom Rymour won the Sanlam Literary Award in South Africa.
"A compulsive read," wrote the jury. "The prose is mature and accomplished, creating a sensory illusion that is almost cinematic."
Billed as "Gormenghast meets King Solomon's Mines", it's a wry, irreverent take on race, religion, politics and sex

(Your hook starts here)
January Beeswax is a white artist born into an upside-down world, an African enclave where millions of white serfs are ruled by a handful of black racists. In this society, eating is considered obscene but copulation is a matter for elaborate public rituals.
January leaves his wilderness village on a pilgrimage and witnesses an assassination, which makes him a marked man. In the alleys of a witchcraft-ridden city, he is used as unwilling bait by the unforgiving Lady Nehanda. She is a black aristocrat, fighting a secret war against an undercover force that aims to destroy her privileged regime. (and stops here)
Among the ingredients of this politically-incorrect page turner are a secret diary, several massacres, a few orgies, sundry evil spirits, a friendly baboon spider and an earnest lecture on the evils of mastication.
The climax of the tale impressed Sunday Independent reviewer Michiel Heyns:
"Rymour manages to surprise us at the end, and, indeed, forces us to reconsider our reading of the whole book... Ideally, one would now reread this clever and accomplished novel to appreciate the skill with which the whole box of tricks has been assembled."

Don't tell me what someone else thinks about the book. Tell me what the book is about. Right now you have a list of events and an idea. You'll need a lot more for me to read pages no matter what anyone thinks of your climax.


~Nancy said...

I don't understand why you included the 1st paragraph blurb; it made me want to stop reading immediately.

I'd definitely ditch it.

Miss Snark has it right: This is just a list of stuff. What is the overriding event/idea/theme of your book? Focus on that, and try to put in only details that adhere to Miss Snark's XYZ formula.

I'd lose the last paragraph, too. Testimonials from an unpubbed author (you are unpublished, correct? If not, you could list the books you've had pubbed by legitimate publishers or short stories pubbed in known magazines).

This sounds like it could be an interesting read. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

January Beeswax??? I beg of you, make it January Jones or Daniel Beeswax, but please, don't saddle this character with both ridiculous names. It smacks of Trying Way Too Hard To Be Creative.

Bella Stander said...

Rename your M.C. too. The first thing that sprang into my head was, "Mind your own beeswax."

Michele said...

I'm wondering if this book doesn't need a different sort of query letter. The grand majority of our hooks are for unpublished books, but if I'm reading the author correctly, this has already been published in South Africa to critical acclaim.

Perhaps your query needs to be more clear on what you are seeking from the agent. If you are still in South Africa, would you do better working with a South African agent who has ties to New York and/or London agents?

Virginia Miss said...

In this society, eating is considered obscene but copulation is a matter for elaborate public rituals.

I don't think I've seen this before.

annie said...

Heinlein had an alien society where eating was considered obscene. Not the other half, though.

Anonymous said...

I believe that was in Heinlein's "Space Cadet", wasn't it?