Wednesday, January 18, 2012

From the Pen of Wallace Stegner


I’ve talked about what makes a line of prose jump off the page at me here. I don’t necessarily make highlights as I read, but I’ll dog-ear a page for future reference if something catches my eye. Below is a smattering of such lines from Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose. All emphasis is mine:

"Noiseless as a flower opening, a rocket burst above the hills. She sat up, watching the white stars curve and fall. Then BOOM! All the night air between her and the town, two and a half miles of it, trembled with the delayed report...
"Another rocket seared across the sky at an angle and bloomed with hanging green balls. Another went up through the green shower and burst into an umbrella of red. Then three together, all white. Then one that winked hotly but did not flower. BOOM! went the cushioning air. BOOM!  BOOM BOOM BOOM!BOOM!"

"She watched me with something like horror. I could feel her eyes on my back, and hear her breathing, and whenever I wheeled around in my chair and caught her eyes, they skittered away in desperate search for something they might have been looking at."

"A wandering dog of a night wind came in off the sagebrush mesa carrying a bar of band music, and laid it on her doorstep like a bone."

"Standing by the gateway he moved the sweating servants with an eyebrow, directed them with half-inch movements of his head."

"He hung from her breast like a ripe fruit ready to fall. His eyes were closed, then open, then closed again... She hated the thought that he must become a separate, uncomfortable metabolism cursed with effort and choice."
What about you? What’s the best line you’ve come across in your recent reading?

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