There’s an exodus going on, out of living rooms and into the world: fathers and sons are on the move.
–Zadie Smith, The Autograph Man
Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
—Stephanie Grant, Guest Editor
Smith mixes high and low register language: exodus is high, "going on," a contemporary construction, qualifies as low; "fathers and sons" is high, "on the move" low; "living rooms" are where the tvs are, our source of information. Advertising on these tvs has informed the fathers and sons of an event they must not miss, and so they tear themselves away and venture forth into the world. The high-low mix continues beyond the sentence. Where they are all headed is a Big Daddy wrestling match, a lowly pop culture event that will take place at the supremely high-noted Queen Victoria's Albert Hall erected for the advancement of Arts and Sciences. All this makes for Jane Austen style arch and is a joy to read.
The ur tropes--exodus; fathers and sons; the wrestling match qualifies too--sets us up for the picaresque desert adventure, though here it is a metaphorical desert, one that begins on the road, in a car, in traffic. Father and son in this story go forth together. Like the biblical Jacob, Alex will return from the wrestling match both triumphant and damaged, having gained something, an autograph, but he also loses.
–Pearl Abraham is the author of American Taliban and The Seventh Beggar