1. wave1345
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    wave1345 Member

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    Style! Your favorite passage.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by wave1345, Jul 6, 2009.

    What is your favorite passage, in terms of style? What have you read that
    you've said of afterwords, "Damn, I'd give up one hand to write like that with
    the other."

    Here's mine, from The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson.

    No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of
    absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill
    House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had
    stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls
    continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly
    shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and
    whatever walked there, walked alone.


    It's worth noting that this is the first paragraph of the book, and also the
    final paragraph of the book. If anyone has not read it, I highly recommend it!
     
  2. Rosetta Stoned
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    Rosetta Stoned Member

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    "This Wall has no mortar," the Gatekeeper states. "There is no need. The bricks fit perfect; not a hair-space between them. Nobody can put a dent in the Wall. And nobody can climb it. Because this Wall is perfect. So forget any ideas you have. Nobody leaves here."

    The Gatekeeper lays a giant hand on my back.

    "You have to endure. If you endure, everything will be fine. No worry, no suffering. It all disappears. Forget about the shadow. This is the End of the World. This is where the world ends. Nowhere further to go."

    ----

    From Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I absolutely adore his style.
     
  3. Vapor
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    Vapor Member

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    From F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Beautiful and Damned". A love letter from Gloria to Anthony:

    ...I can almost look down the tracks and see you going but without
    you, dearest, dearest, I can't see or hear or feel or think. Being
    apart--whatever has happened or will happen to us--is like begging for
    mercy from a storm, Anthony; it's like growing old. I want to kiss you
    so--in the back of your neck where your old black hair starts. Because I
    love you and whatever we do or say to each other, or have done, or have
    said, you've got to feel how much I do, how inanimate I am when you're
    gone. I can't even hate the damnable presence of PEOPLE, those people in
    the station who haven't any right to live--I can't resent them even
    though they're dirtying up our world, because I'm engrossed in
    wanting you so.

    If you hated me, if you were covered with sores like a leper, if you
    ran away with another woman or starved me or beat me--how absurd this
    sounds--I'd still want you, I'd still love you. I_ KNOW, _my darling._

    It's late--I have all the windows open and the air outside, is just as
    soft as spring, yet, somehow, much more young and frail than spring. Why
    do they make spring a young girl, why does that illusion dance and yodel
    its way for three months through the world's preposterous barrenness.
    Spring is a lean old plough horse with its ribs showing--it's a pile of
    refuse in a field, parched by the sun and the rain to an ominous
    cleanliness.

    In a few hours you'll wake up, my darling--and you'll be miserable, and
    disgusted with life. You'll be in Delaware or Carolina or somewhere and
    so unimportant. I don't believe there's any one alive who can
    contemplate themselves as an impermanent institution, as a luxury or an
    unnecessary evil. Very few of the people who accentuate the futility of
    life remark the futility of themselves. Perhaps they think that in
    proclaiming the evil of living they somehow salvage their own worth from
    the ruin--but they don't, even you and I....

    ... Still I can see you. There's blue haze about the trees where
    you'll be passing, too beautiful to be predominant. No, the fallow
    squares of earth will be most frequent--they'll be along beside the
    track like dirty coarse brown sheets drying in the sun, alive,
    mechanical, abominable. Nature, slovenly old hag, has been sleeping in
    them with every old farmer or negro or immigrant who happened to
    covet her....

    So you see that now you're gone I've written a letter all full of
    contempt and despair. And that just means that I love you, Anthony, with
    all there is to love with in your

    GLORIA.
     
  4. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't have just one favorite. Here's a sweet passage from the book I'm currently reading: Breath by Tim Winton -

     
  5. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Oh, mine is from The Name of The Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. Quite a great book, I would recommend it to anyone. This is the line that made me want to buy it. It's a bit long, but entertaining!

    My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as "quothe". Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names that anyone has a right to.

    The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.

    "The Flame" is quite obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon.. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire.
    "The Thunder" I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.

    I've never thought of "The Broken Tree" as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.
    My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.

    But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know". I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.

    I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and writtend songs that made minstrels weep.
    You may have heard of me.
     
  6. allangelsfall
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    allangelsfall New Member

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    This is just one of my favourite passages...it's from Linda Barry's book 'CRUDDY.'

    When we first moved here, the mother took the blue-mirror cross that hung over her bed in our old house and nailed a nail for it in the new bedroom of me and my sister. Truthfully it is a cross I have never liked. The Jesus of it seems haunted. He's the light-absorber kind. In the pitch-black middle of the night he will start to glow green at you with his arms up like he is doing a tragic ballet. Some nights looking at him scares me so bad I can hardly move and I start doing a prayer for protection. But when the thing that is scaring you is already Jesus, who are you suppose to pray to?
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Warning. Please Read.

    All quoted material MUST be properly attributed as to author and title. Any posts not meeting this requirement will be deleted without notice, and if this thread becomes an administrative burden, it will be closed.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    There is a beautiful description written by Sheri S. Tepper in her book Grass (um, freakin' awesome book, yo.)

    She describes the dysfunctional relationship between one of her main protagonist and the protag's husband in the language of dance, as seen through the eyes of someone else and that someone else's wife.

    I do not have the book on hand from which to quote, but it is one of my very favorite little pieces of literary genius.

    Better than just quote the work, go out an pick up this novel and read this beautiful passage within the complete context created by Miss Tepper in order to appreciate the true mastery this writer has over her craft.
     
  9. Laverick
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    Laverick Member

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    Er... I can't stand the long and adjective infested descriptions. I'm just not very patient.

    I do like Ada's narrative in Poisonwood Bible. She's an exception, for her quirky (morbid?) way of seeing herself.

    Some of my favorite lines come from Holden:

    “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d like to be. I know it’s crazy.”

    Catcher In the Rye, JD Salinger, said by Holden to his sister.

    I do not seem to have the collection of short stories by Salinger or Herman Melville with me, but if I did I would find a good quote from the Banana Fish- Salinger and Bartleby, the Scrivener- Melville.

    I'm crazy for interesting characters (and places), not so much for huge descriptions of relatively normal scenes. By normal I mean in comparison to the scenes in the Claidi Journals- Tanith Lee.
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Since we've been reading Joyce's Dubliners at school, here's an extremely well written passage from his short story "The Dead" (it's actually the very last paragraph). I would give an arm to write like this.

    Edit: I'm kind of surprised no one has posted anything from Nabokov. I usually see stuff from him in threads like these.
     
  11. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sheep shall become so numerous that the bleating of the one shall be heard by the other from Conchra in Lochalsh to Bun-da-Loch in Kintail they shall be at their height in price, and henceforth will go back and deteriorate, until they disappear altogether, and be so thoroughly forgotten that a man finding the jaw-bone of a sheep in a cairn, will not recognise it, or be able to tell what animal it belonged to. The ancient proprietors of the soil shall give peace to strange merchant proprietors, and the whole Highlands will become one huge deer forest; the whole country will be so utterly desolated and depopulated that the crow of a cock shall not be heard north of Druim-Uachdair; the people will emigrate to Islands now unknown, but which shall yet be discovered in the boundless oceans, after which the deer and other wild animals in the huge wilderness shall be exterminated and drowned by horrid black rains. The people will then return and take undisturbed possession of the lands of their ancestors - Coinneach Odhar, the Brahan Seer

    It's not really a book, but there are many stories that mention that prophecy, and a few of them have been published.
     

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