No possibilities, it was all settled in advance:  a bit of flirtation, a few giggles, brief bewilderment, then the alien, resigned look of a woman starting to keep house again, the first children, a bit of togetherness after the kitchen work, from the start not listened to, and in turn listening less and less, inner monologues, trouble with her legs, varicose veins, mute except for mumbling in her sleep, cancer of the womb, and, finally, with death, destiny fulfilled.
–Peter Handke, from A Sorrow Beyond Dreams


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
Here's a spare and devastating sentence from Peter Handke's brief 1972 memoir about his mother's life and eventual suicide in a small Austrian village in which, as Handke tells us, "the fortune-tellers at our church fairs took a serious interest only in the palms of the young men" because "a girl's future was a joke." I love how Handke renders his own horror at the constrictions of a woman's life in that time and place--"no possiblities, it was all settled in advance"--through a taut compression that's as powerful as it is appalling. —Richard McCann, author of Mother of Sorrows and Ghost Letters