I remember how, that night, I lay awake in the wagon-lit in a tender, delicious ecstasy of excitement, my burning cheek pressed against the impeccable linen of the pillow and the pounding of my heart mimicking that of the great pistons ceaselessly thrusting the train that bore me through the night, away from Paris, away from girlhood, away from the white, enclosed quietude of my mother’s apartment, into the unguessable country of marriage.
—Angela Carter, from The Bloody Chamber
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
I once attended a reading by the late, great Angela Carter during which she proudly described herself as “an unabashed ‘60s person.” This sentence feels like the ‘60s, with its uninhibited, sensual qualities – hallmarks of Ms. Carter’s prose. We’re introduced to this young girl leaving her mother’s home to marry a man of whom her mother disapproves. She leans her cheek against the “impeccable linen of the pillow” as though bidding goodbye to her innocence. “The great pistons …” of the train “thrusting … through the night” are overtly sexual, as she heads towards the “unguessable country of marriage,” which brings to mind Sophocles’ quote that “death is another country,” so that the reader is left to wonder whether her new life with this possibly dangerous man will be a death for her – figurative or literal – as she travels so far “away from girlhood.”
—Janice Eidus is the author of The War of the Rosens and The Celibacy Club