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This Is What Good Writing Looks Like


Sometimes, I highlight a passage and then get all wordy about how awesome it is and how beautiful the writing is and how the author must be an angel of the pen.

Today, though, I won’t do that, even though I just kind of did.

Today, I present to you a passage from Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep–a passage completely out of context, completely foreign if you’ve never read the book. But, obviously, the passage provoked strong emotions in me or I wouldn’t be sharing it with you.

Here’s the passage:

“He went out into the hallway. Behind him, like an eyelid shutting, the soft closing of the door winked out the light. He assayed the stairs, lapsing below him into darkness, and grasping one by one each slender upright to the banister, went down. David never found himself alone on these stairs, but he wished there were no carpet covering them. How could you hear the sound of your own feet in the dark if a carpet muffled every step you took? And if you couldn’t hear the sound of your own feet and couldn’t see anything either, how you be sure you were actually there and not dreaming?”


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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. It gave me a chill, thinking about walking through a silent, dark house.. Beautiful writing.

    December 5, 2013
    • Yep. It’s very visual. Love that style of writing.

      December 5, 2013
  2. That’s a fantastic passage. Amazing how something so simple as walking down the stairs can lead to almost existential doubts – very true to life!

    December 5, 2013
  3. I feel its about self affirmation, the loneliness of not having the capacity to identify who you are at a certain point.

    December 5, 2013
  4. Beautiful writing. Enough to make me want to read the book. Is it worth the read?

    December 5, 2013
    • I’m a little over halfway done, and I really like it so far. Sad, but very powerful.

      December 5, 2013
  5. The suddenness of the darkness and the need of assurance of senses other than that of touch to get a grasp of things.. It’s one of the most scientifically correct description of a dream.. The eyelid simile is really really smart..

    December 5, 2013
  6. Yes, how could you be sure you existed at all? Nice.

    December 5, 2013
  7. Reblogged this on fuel of the mind.

    December 5, 2013
  8. Lucille #

    I just finished the book and found passages of such luminous writing frequently. It’s a beautiful story.

    December 5, 2013
  9. Finesse. Sublime writing with intense thoughts.

    December 6, 2013
  10. Beautiful.

    December 7, 2013
  11. I could actually feel the carpet under my feet as I creeped down the stairs in an old, dark house. Reminded me of my parent’s home. :)

    December 10, 2013
  12. Simply beautiful, like a waking dream. I think everyone has these types of haunting thoughts from time to time, but they are hard to express.

    December 10, 2013
  13. The question at the end did it for me. It opens up a new line of thought that I wouldn’t have stumbled onto otherwise

    December 23, 2013

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