Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘great sentences’

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Is there such a thing as a perfect sentence?

Recently, Publishers Weekly posted a provocative list of “5 Perfect Sentences.” Here’s one, from “A Romantic Weekend” by Mary Gaitskill: He was beginning to see her as a locked garden that he could sneak into and sit in for days, tearing the heads off the flowers. Now, I love this sentence, but the list raises the question: is it perfect? It’s beautiful, sure—and over at BookRiot, Greg Zimmerman has a wise and thoughtful post about what makes a beautiful sentence. But what does it mean to say something is a “perfect” sentence? Perfect might not mean lush, or beautiful, or […]

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Book-Length Sentences: The Antidote to Twitter? (And does Twitter need an antidote, anyway?)

That basic unit of literature, the sentence, has been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to Stanley Fish’s new book How to Write a Sentence. In it, Fish makes an argument that sentences are to writing what paint is to painting: But wouldn’t the equivalent of paint be words rather than sentences? Actually, no, because while you can brush or even drip paint on a canvas and make something interesting happen, just piling up words, one after the other, won’t do much of anything until something else has been added. […] Before the words slide into their slots, they […]

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The Best Sentences, One Tweet at a Time

New York Magazine book critic Sam Anderson is running a literary Twitter experiment — and no, this isn’t a Twitter novel. In fact, it’s almost the exact opposite. Anderson tweets the best sentence he reads each day, and as he points out, “‘Best,’ in this context, can mean almost anything: funny, beautiful, enlightening, stylistically amazing.” A few of his selections: “Rain patters on a sea that tilts and sighs.” (philip larkin, ‘absences’) I think that at least a third to half of all MFA seats should be reserved for people with families. (junot diaz, panorama interv. w eggers) “But according […]