The rabbit was being sold by the pound for meat but I saw in the still-live creature the possibility for a better outcome for both of us and bought him off a farmer, saving him from the pot, dragging out his life long enough for him to bite me on the arm, delivering a scar that remains to this day along with the self-harming scars that I angrily etched a few years later.
—Russell Brand, from My Booky Wook
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
In this, the best sentence in his first memoir, Russell Brand’s major themes—ethics, salvation, cruelty, the discovery of the human—collide, characteristically, within the wonky, careening cross traffic of the provincial and absurd: Brand, grubbily Christlike, saves a rabbit to save himself; fails utterly; is left less messiah, more ungrateful caged coney. The sentence uses this degenerative transition to stage its final, whiplashing, prepositional phrase, “along with the self-harming scars,” in which Brand cantilevers the emotional question at the heart of his memoir: how should we read Brand’s protracted cruelty to himself? Brand’s rabbit doesn’t save him and his sentence doesn’t either, but ah!--even as he casts his own resonant self-loathing as subhuman, immature, there’s the grand length of the sentence, its triple turns, its brash unwieldy intelligence: the charisma of perspective on which he has built his career, and through which, now, he is becoming one of our most urgent moral writers.
—Sarah Mesle writes for the LA Review of Books and edits Avidly.org