More delicious words

July 3rd, 2008

Here’s another one from Chabon: “There is a small, decisive clink, a bit hollow, like false teeth clapping together.”

It’s not just the startling combination of words that make these images so great but the way they fit perfectly into the style and tone of the work. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a crime novel,¬†gritty, dark, full of noir characters:¬†in the scene from which the line above is taken, the room is full of down-and-outers who probably have – or need – false teeth. And here’s another: “A Disney shtetl, bright and clean as a freshly forged birth certificate.” This to describe a neighborhood that’s home to organized crime on the eve of “the Reversion” when a good many people might be wanting forged birth certificates. Even the image from my earlier post: as the novel progresses Landsman, a police detective, and his partner are indeed comrades in a probably doomed adventure.

At some point I stopped dog-earing my pages to mark such perfect lines because I was turning back every other corner.


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