Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Sentence: Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken

Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.

(NOTE: This week, for the first time in Sunday Sentence history, I'm going to break my own rules and share not just one sentence, but an entire bouquet of them.  As I'm going through Thunderstruck on my Kindle, I'm constantly pausing to highlight favorite lines, thinking each one is the best...until I go another couple of paragraphs and find another favorite...and then an even better sentence a few pages later.  Hell, I could have just transcribed the entire book for you this week, but I restrained myself and only picked the very best of the best.)

The way the neighborhood kids tell the story, the coffin was lowered into the ground and Missy Goodby's grieving mother leapt down and then had to be yanked from the hole like a weed.  Everyone always believes the better story eventually.  Really, Joyce Goodby just thumped the coffin at the graveside service.  Spanked it: two little spanks, nothing serious.  She knew that pleading would never budge her daughter, not because she was dead but because she was stubborn.

The soul is liquid, and slow to evaporate.  The body's a bucket and liable to slosh.  Grieving, haunted, heartbroken, obsessed: your friends will tell you to cheer up.  What they really mean is dry up.  But it isn't a matter of will.  Only time and light will do the job.

The bath mat looked made of various flavors of old chewing gum.

His hair looked like it had been combed with a piece of buttered toast.

In the December rain, the buildings around the town square were the color of dirty fingernails.  Still, the French had tried to jolly things up a bit.

The grandmother was a bright, cellophane-wrapped hard candy of a person: sweet, but not necessarily what a child wanted.

Her job as a mother--she believed this then, believed it now--was to make sure that her children would be loved by the maximum number of other people.  This was the source of all her anxiety.

Outside, in the light from the Drake's Landing's floodlights, the snow sparkled like something that wasn't snow.  Diamonds, or asphalt, or emery boards.

Nobody had warned her how deeply babies slept, how you couldn't always see them breathing.  You watched, and watched, you touched their dozy stomachs to feel their clockwork.

Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken

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