Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From the Pen of Jennifer Egan

As a follow-up to yesterday’s review I thought I’d give you a taste of Jennifer Egan’s style. One of the things that struck me about Goon Squad  was her ability to be colorful without being florid. Her descriptions are filled with everyday language that still manages to paint a vivid picture. Here are just a few passages that hit me where it counts (as usual, all emphasis is mine):
They sink onto the sand, still faintly warm, radiating a lunar glow.

The palm trees make a slapping, rainy sound, but the air is dry.
Sasha gathered up her ubiquitous black bag, a shapeless wishing well from which she'd managed to wrest whatever file or number or slip of paper he'd needed for the past twelve years.

The sun rose, big and shiny and round, like an angel lifting her head. I’d never seen it so brilliant out there. Silver poured over the water.  

The blinds of his loft were up and a tinge of shower humidity hung in the air, pleasantly cut by the smell of brewing coffee.

Bosco brought Stephanie coffee and then began a juddering emersion into his chair, which suctioned around him in a gelatinous grip.

An unsuccessful hip replacement had left him with the lurching, belly-hoisting walk of a refrigerator on a hand truck.

 Kitty came toward him slowly- poured toward him, really, that was how smoothly she moved in her sage green dress, as if the jerking awkwardness of walking were something she’d never experienced.

That is some good stuff. It seems there’s a certain magic in backloading your sentences- sticking the most memorable phrases and descriptions on the tail end for maximum impact.

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