Admired sentences

Somebody out there liked my book.

In fact, she singles out for praise a single sentence.  And the sad truth is:  I have no memory of having written this sentence. I guess I’d imagined her favorite sentence would be something I, too, would have singled out in my mind.  But no.

Anyway, here it is:

My father, a mild man, dedicated to prudent consistency, demurred.

I’ll stand by this sentence.  I think the long part (“dedicated to prudent consistency”) is a bit too chunky in the mouth — too many palatal consonants.  I like the faintly comic tang you get from delaying the verb to the end — I stole this trick from somewhere, I don’t remember where.  (It might have just been the German language in general.)

Anyway, I have a favorite sentence in the book, but I don’t care to reveal it.  Instead, here are a couple of my very favorites from other people’s books.

One from Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, I have quoted here before:

…the library, the dead core of my education, the white, silent kernel of every empty Sunday I had spent trying to ravish the faint charms of economics, my sad and cynical major.

And, in another register, from Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America:

The sun was like a huge fifty-cent piece that someone had poured kerosene on and then lit with a match and said ‘Here, hold this while I go get a newspaper,’ and put the coin in my hand but never came back.

I like the way this sentence is not a sentence, but reads as one.

Tagged , , , ,

2 thoughts on “Admired sentences

  1. Richard Séguin says:

    I love the sentences by yourself and Chabon, but the imagery in Brautigan’s sentence is very awkward to me. Maybe I’m missing some context.

  2. Yvette says:

    I stand by the sentence you wrote and while I’m standing, I’m still loving it. Doesn’t sound ‘clunky’ in the mouth to me. In fact, when I first read the book, I remember talking to a friend in Seattle that evening and reading the sentence aloud to her. (She liked it too and she hadn’t even read the book.) So I’ve been loving that sentence for awhile. ;)

    I’m pleased you saw my post and commented on it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 316 other followers

%d bloggers like this: