children leaving a pleasant street at dusk

p:18:

For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened – then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.

This simile – the sunlight leaving her face like children from a street at dusk – is one of the phrases that made me want to write this blog. I keep using the words “beautiful,” “lovely,” “gorgeous” because my vocabulary is so thin, I have no power over language like this man. This simile is all that, well beyond what my simple words can describe. Along with the clear romanticism and tribute to beauty, for this modern reader there’s a paean to lost childhood – do kids really play on the street anymore, running for home as their mothers call out their names in the twilight?

And that whole sentence, I just noticed now, is actually a metaphor for an entire love affair, an entire life of a beautiful woman. There’s this shallow trend now towards flash fiction – it’s hard to sustain bursts of imagery like this over an entire novel, so people try it in paragraphs and pages. But this one sentence shames many of those efforts.

My distant second choice for this page is the way Miss Baker chats about California and “Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.” Brilliant observation that body language interrupts as much as the spoken word.

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One thought on “children leaving a pleasant street at dusk

  1. I stumbled across your blog Googling my favorite line from my favorite book – where the mind will go while working, right? I love what you’re doing and I look forward to reading what you have to say.

    Like

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