J Cronin’s The Passage is surprisingly interesting and I hope to blog about it at greater length some other time. (Short version: it is the only thing I’ve ever read that imitates Stephen King and gets right what works about Stephen King, and this is sort of a great achievement.) Still, though, there’s this:
It wasn’t that he didn’t like her, nor that she had failed to make her interest less than plain.
It took me about thirty seconds to figure out what this actually said, and once I figured it out, I was pretty sure it didn’t say what Cronin wanted it to say. But how could any editor read this sentence and not flag it?