Category Archives: Prose

The exemplary sentence

I’ve been reading a slim novel by Forrest Gander called A Friend. It’s a novel in three parts that closely parallels a real life event. The part told by the lover, Sarah, is made up of mostly one-line statements about … Continue reading

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The Exemplary Sentence

I read about Bette Howland and her memoir/novel Blue in Chicago in the NY Times obituaries last month. According to the obituary she was a a protege (and perhaps lover) of Saul Bellow and had a troubled life.     … Continue reading

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Exemplary sentences

I am reading Adam Zagajewsky’s new book of essays–more really diary entries–called Slight Exaggeration. I’m a fan of both his prose and his poetry. His standard of literacy and breadth of knowledge is so high. I came across this passage, … Continue reading

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Those long summer evenings

They are already growing shorter now, but this passage from Adam Zagajewski’s new book of essays, Slight Exaggeration, perfectly captures the experience of the long evenings–even longer in northern Europe: “And once again it was June–mild, long, slowly fading evenings, evenings … Continue reading

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The Exemplary Sentence: Primo Levi

At a friend’s suggestion, I have been reading Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table. I rather skimmed through the early chapters about his relatives, but once I got to the chapter on Hydrogen, I was hooked. This is not a book … Continue reading

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The exemplary sentence

I’m thinking I should call this “the exemplary paragraph” as it’s usually more than one sentence that catches my eye… but of course the paragraph is made up of sentences. In this case from three books I read recently. But … Continue reading

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The exemplary sentence

I just finished Clever Girl, by Tessa Hadley.  I enjoyed this story of a woman in England, growing from child to teenager to mother to older woman largely because of the writing. Here are a couple of examples. First a … Continue reading

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More Baldwin: Whoever debases others is debasing himself

I was so impressed by The Fire Next Time, which I finished today, that I have to quote a few more passages. This after Baldwin’s meeting with Elijah Muhammad, talking in the car to a young follower about the idea of black nation … Continue reading

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Still relevant

I was inspired by the movie “I Am Not Your Negro” to reread a bit of James Baldwin. I find his essays every bit as lucid and apposite as I did in the late 60’s. Here’s a sample, in which … Continue reading

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An exemplary sentence

I just finished The Story of a Brief Marriage, by Anuk Arudpragasam. I can’t say I read the whole book–a painful though extraordinary tour de force that covers one day through the eyes and voice of a young man in … Continue reading

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