Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Sentence: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.  (This week, I'm going to break tradition and post several best sentences because, frankly, I am overwhelmed by the feast of words found in the pages of Michael Chabon's debut novel, The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh. I looked at all the candidates, weighed them, and found them all to be deserving of mention this week, beginning with the book's terrific opening line.)

      At the beginning of summer I had lunch with my father, the gangster, who was in town for the weekend to transact some of his vague business.

      Drunk, Jane spoke as though she were Nancy Drew. I was a fool for a girl with a dainty lexicon.

      He teetered, wore a bib of spilled whiskey, and the wide things he said, I felt, would be discounted as the typical CinemaScope friendliness of a sot.

      Boardwalk, a chain, sold books at low prices, in huge, fluorescent, supermarket style, a style pervaded by glumness and by an uncomprehending distaste for its low-profit merchandise. The store, with its long white aisles and megalithic piles of discount thrillers and exercise guides, was organized as though the management had hoped to sell luncheon meat or lawn care products, but had somehow been tricked by an unscrupulous wholesaler – I imagined the disappointed “What the hell are we going to do with all these damned books?” of the owners who had started in postcards and seaside souvenirs on the Jersey shore. As far as they were concerned, a good book was still a plump little paperback that knew how to sit in a beach bag and keep its dirty mouth shut.

      Wrapped in her extravagant fur, with her long, noble face and elegant walk, Happy was, in every way, the Anna Karenina of dogs, even expressing, Jane claimed, a distinct mixture of fear of and fascination with the trains they would have to stop for in the course of the marathon walks they took together.

      “Love is like falconry,” he said. “Don’t you think that’s true, Cleveland?”
      “Never say love is like anything.” said Cleveland. “It isn’t.”

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