5 Perfect Sentences II

Gabe Habash -- December 18th, 2013


We’ve done this before, but here are 5 more perfect sentences.

My father was right: you could make anybody amazing just by insisting they were.

-”What We Know About the Lost Aztec Children” by Elizabeth McCracken

She thought of a hotel room in Mazatlan whose door had just been slammed, it seemed forever, waking up two hundred birds down in the lobby; a sunrise over the library slope at Cornell University that nobody out on it had seen because the slope faced west; a dry, disconsolate tune from the fourth movement of the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra; a whitewashed bust of Jay Gould that Pierce kept over the bed on a shelf so narrow for it she’d always had the hovering fear it would someday topple on them.

-The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

On heart-broken pretense of entreating a cup of cold water, fiends in human form had got into lonely dwellings, nor retired until a dark deed had been done.

-Benito Cereno by Herman Melville

I sleep with a glass of water on the nightstand so I can see by its level if the coastal earth is trembling or if the shaking is still me.

-”In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” by Amy Hempel

“I get the idea perfectly, Mickey,” said Archimboldi, thinking all the while that this man was not only irritating but ridiculous, with the particular ridiculousness of self-dramatizers and poor fools convinced they’ve been present at a decisive moment in history, when it’s common knowledge, thought Archimboldi, that history, which is a simple whore, has no decisive moments but is a proliferation of instants, brief interludes that vie with one another in monstrousness.”

-2666 by Roberto Bolaño

15 thoughts on “5 Perfect Sentences II

  1. Leigh

    Perhaps a category for best first sentence? I’d humbly submit:

    All nights should be so dark, all winters so warm, all headlights so dazzling.
    Martin Cruz Smith – Gorky Park

    And ok, it’s more than 1 but c’mon:
    Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

  2. Sue Cowing

    “The angels tried to dry their tears, but their handkerchiefs were so soaked through that it started raining even in the deserts.” from The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer

  3. Mazlenfan@hotmail.com

    He entered a room like a man preceded by acrobats.

    Crossing to Safety – Wallace Stegner

    Dr. Weiss, at 40, knew that literature had ruined her life.

    The Debut – Anita Brookner

  4. Beth

    “‘She would of been a good woman,’ The Misfit said, ‘if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.’”
    –Flannery O’Connor

  5. michael

    From James Joyce’s story “A Painful Case,” about a Mr, Duffy:

    “He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a predicate in the past tense.”

  6. Annie

    “He had merely fallen face down across the bed, as though sleep were a weapon that had struck him from behind.” -In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (h/t Mike Harvkey)

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