The exemplary sentence

I saw this idea on Mark Doty’s blog and immediately adopted it. I’ve been saving sentences for decades, and just now am rereading Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King. This is the only one of Bellow’s books I’ve ever liked, but I really love it and it holds up wonderfully since I first read it maybe 30 years ago.

I say rereading, but this time I am listening to it as read by Joe Barrett, who manages to embody the voice of Henderson as well as the soft accents of various African characters. It’s wonderful to me how such a reading can enhance a book. But this one is so packed with exemplary sentences, it’s hard to choose, and I often need to rewind–not as easy on CD as formerly on cassette–to capture their complete sense.  Here is one (not even the whole sentence, but enough):

“Even civilized women  are not keen on geography, preferring a world of their own.”

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