When he crossed the river by the ferryboat and afterwards, mounting the hill, looked at his village and towards the west where the cold crimson sunset lay a narrow streak of light, he thought that truth and beauty which had guided human life there in the garden and in the yard of the high priest had continued without interruption to this day, and had evidently always been the chief thing in human life and in all earthly life, indeed; and the feeling of youth, health, vigor–he was only twenty-two–and the inexpressible, sweet expectation of happiness, of unknown mysterious happiness, took possession of him little by little, and life seemed to him enchanting, marvelous, and full of lofty meaning.
—Anton Chekhov, from The Student


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
The looseness of the and-and structure of this sentence and the precision of its language gives this story a touch of the profound quality of scripture. We’re following the mind of a young clerical student, and in the brief half hour of this great story, in three short pages, we see how the weather, the day--it is Good Friday--the waning of light, the cold, his knowledge of history, and of scripture come together to give him (and the reader) a mercurial, deeply human shift from deep despair to hope and joy. The feeling that he is a link between the past and present, that he has "just seen both ends of that chain; that when he touched one end the other quivered," provides this student with a transcendent moment in which he feels himself at one with the world, in it and of it, and this sense of himself as part of something large makes all the difference.
—Pearl Abraham is the author of, most recently, American Taliban and The Seventh Beggar