Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tag, I'm It

So, AhvaRahn has tagged me. I'm it. I must grab the nearest book, turn to page 123, scan down to the 5th sentence and copy the next three sentences. I usually don't like revealing games, but this one holds a curious fascination for me.

The book I have grabbed is Philip Roth's Everyman. While a slim volume, it does, thankfully, have more than 123 pages. Here goes...

"Leave me alone!"
"Phoebe -- "

Honestly, that is the set of three sentences following the fifth sentence on page 123. What it does quite nicely is demonstrate the fat-free content of Mr. Roth's writing. Three sentences with five words. That's economy.

Just for giggles, I take the three sentences following that. To show that Roth isn't all monosyllabic dialogue:

But these episodes are indeed well known and require no further elaboration. Phoebe threw him out the night after his mother's burial, they were divorced after negotiating a financial settlement, and because he did not know what else to do to make sense of what had happened or how else to appear responsible -- and to rehabilitate himself particularly in Nancy's eyes -- a few months later he married Merete. Since he had broken everything up because of this person half his age, it seemed only logical to go ahead and tidy everything up again by making her his third wife -- never was he clever enough as a married man to fall into adultery or to fall in love with a woman who was not free.

I can't believe what a convenient case this one page makes for the brilliant versatility of Mr. Roth's writing. As lengthy as those last three sentences are -- complete with em dashes -- there is no word that isn't necessary. And they stand in such stark contrast to the first few sentences of dialogue.

Thanks, Paul, for thinking of me and then tagging (even though I hadn't actually gotten to p. 123 yet and therefore feel I've cheated somewhat in "reading ahead"). I'm honored to be grouped with Maria and Pete and look forward to their entries!