Superlative line

I’ve been reading Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner”. There’s a line in there that stopped me dead in my tracks.

“Then, a thing made of skin and bones pretending to be Rahim Khan opened the door.”

Wow. I’d give up ice cream for a month to write a sentence like that. Come to think of it, I haven’t had any for two weeks.

Even the placement of this sentence on the printed page (Riverhead Books, 2003, hardback, p. 172) seems calculated to add punch to its effect. It’s the first sentence on top of the page, but the last sentence of a paragraph from the previous (overleaf page.) So the sentence pops out from its surrounding white space.

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5 thoughts on “Superlative line

  1. I know what you mean about phrases that catch you – here’s one I can across recently – not contemporary, but embodies stunning beauty.

    When he shall die,
    Take him and cut him out in little stars,
    And he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night,
    And pay no worship to the garish sun.

    William Shakespeare

  2. Yes, it is R&J. I think it was in a book about RFK where I read that RFK quoted these lines at the ’64 Democratic convention when he was talking about JFK, his slain brother. This was before my time, but perhaps our parents remember this.

  3. Indeed tce is correct, though I didn’t know there was a Kennedy conection. While we’re on the topic of great phrases, here’s another from Will…..one of my favorites………

    And as imagination bodies forth
    The forms of thing unknown,
    The poets pen
    Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing,
    A local habitation and a name.

    William Shakespeare
    “Act V, Scene 1,
    A Mid-summers Night Dream”

    One reason I like this is because this is what surfers do – we name surf spots – and by doing so we give form to places that would otherwise be non-descript stretches of beach.

  4. It’s interesting how lines from “Romeo and Juliet” would be quoted at a political convention! I wonder if starfarer reads Shakespeare for fun, which is rather impressive. The last time I read any Shakespeare was in college (for an assignment of course).

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