One Great Sentence

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“This will happen so fast that one night he will be in the backyard, believing it a perfect place, and by the next night he will have changed and the yard as he imagined it will be gone, and this era of his life will be behind him forever.”

One Great Sentence May 17, 2017

This famous piece by Susan Orlean is one of those stories where it’s hard to pick just one great sentence. You find one, and then another, and then another — a rabbit hole of great sentences. But this one … Read more

“She was beautiful but when she tasted the water from the glass on her lectern she smiled sadly as if it were bitter for, in spite of her civil zeal, she had a taste for the melancholy – for the smell of orange rinds and wood smoke – that was extraordinary.”

By One Great Sentence May 4, 2017

Why is it great? When I moved back to New England last year after nearly a lifetime away, John Cheever’s debut novel about a quirky New England family was the first thing I read. This sentence, near the beginning, captured … Read more

“He sat in an old chair near a particle board pinned with the yellowed obituaries of steelworker friends who died too early, including Robert Plater. 60. Cancer. A paper target practice figure hung next to the obituaries. Its heart had been blown out.”

By One Great Sentence April 26, 2017

Why is it great? I promise this is the last you’ll see of Springsteen on this site for the foreseeable future. But I had somehow missed this story by one of my favorite writers (and former co-worker on the … Read more

“She is the mother of two fatherless children and she was walking into the history of this country because she was showing everybody who felt old and helpless and without hope that she had this terrible strength that everybody needed so badly.”

By One Great Sentence March 29, 2017

Like a lot of people, last week I reread the story that made Jimmy Breslin famous. It has his greatest hallmark: writing about the little guy, in this case Clifton Pollard, who was paid $3.01 an hour to dig the grave … Read more

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