I just finished Clever Girl, by Tessa Hadley. I enjoyed this story of a woman in England, growing from child to teenager to mother to older woman largely because of the writing. Here are a couple of examples. First a description of Manchester that could be any 20th Century first world city:
“…a broad vista opened up across a stretch of wasteland overgrown with scrubby bushes and rugged with the flooring of vanished factories, the humped remains of brick outbuildings. Cranes stood up in the distance against a sky with a thin blue sheen like liquid metal, striated with pale cloud; puddles of water on the ground reflected the sky’s light as silver. The beauty of it took me by surprise. Dark skeins of birds detached themselves, shrilling from the bushes and ruined buildings while I stood watching.”
Then a description of a teenage boy that immediately brought to mind a vivid image:
“He had the swaggering air of careless luck and a blissful uncomplicated beauty, as if his face and body were drawn in a few clean lines.”
It’s such a pleasure to read good writing!