Friday, September 26, 2008

Show & Tell: Favorite Sentence

My favorite sentence comes from my favorite book, Nadja by Andre Breton.
She told me her name, the one she had chosen for herself: "Nadja, because in Russian it's the beginning of the word hope, and because it's only the beginning."
This is a great sentence because it has the same whimsical tone that the book does, that it is all just the beginning (Breton began the surrealist movement in writing.) He easily could have written, she told me her name was Nadja, she said it was the beginning of the word hope in Russian. Breton's sentence has rhythym. I heart this book. The premise is, a lot of rambling followed by about thirty pages of Breton meeting this woman Nadja in Paris (an actual account from his life) and the following few days they spend together going to cafes and such, again followed by more rambling. One of the major questions surrounding the book is, is Nadja real or did Breton make her up? Knowing this, makes this sentence doubly interesting because, is this the name she chose for herself or did Breton name her? I lean towards her being the subconscience of Breton.

Some runner ups:
Gradually, however, we are devoured by parents, gulped by schools, chewed up by peers, swallowed by social institutions, wolfed by bad habits, and gnawed by age; and by the time we have been digested, cow style, in those six stomachs, we emerge a single disgusting shade of brown. from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Although, I don't care for Robbins' books, I'm not sure why I don't like them, I am very aware that that man knows how to turn a sentence.

She was only the dead-leaf echo of the nymphet from long ago - but I loved her, this Lolita, pale and polluted and big with another man's child. from Adrian Lyne's film, "Lolita" based on Nabokov's novel of the same name
This movie quote is derived from multiple, long sentences in the book. I prefer this succint version. I love the description of a "dead-leaf echo."

2 comments:

Danielle said...

Love the quote from Tom Robbins. It is very pleasant and uplifting, isn't it? --Danielle

Samuel said...

Awesome picks! And Nadja sounds like a pretty interesting read.