Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A perfect description from Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay"

If I'd been trying to write the scene below I probably would have said "There was an old lady in the corner who didn't make eye contact with anyone."  That is why I never get anything published.  Michael Chabon takes what could be an irrelevant body in the corner of a room and makes her a fascinating study both physically and psychologically.  

Sammy had never felt himself to be anything more, in Bubbie's eyes, than a kind of vaguely beloved shadow from which the familiar features of dozens of earlier children and grandchildren, some of them dead sixty years, peered out.  She was a large boneless woman who draped herself like an old blanket over the chairs of the apartment, staring for hours with her gray eyes at ghosts, figments, recollections, and dust caught in oblique sunbeams, her arms streaked and pocked like relief maps of vast planets, her massive calves stuffed like forcemeat into lung-colored support hose.  She was quixotically vain about her appearance and spent an hour each morning making up her face (72).

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