Bloggers doing this meme are supposed to share two sentences from a random page in their current read. These two sentences are meant to "tease" their regular readers by announcing an upcoming review--and also to "tease" casual visitors who might just be looking for their next book to read.
I have a difficult enough time finding good excerpts for my regular "reviews" (I use the term very loosely) to want to restrict myself to two consecutive sentences; but my latest featured book is such a whirlwind of different elements that I'll accept this challenge for the first time--even though the excerpt is not going to be random.
Nick Joaquin is a master at writing sentences that stretch on and on and on--in his book of historical essays A Question of Heroes he summed up over a hundred years of history, narrative style, in a single sentence that took up over one page and felt glorious (even though I needed a stiff drink at the end)--and I thought I'd give everyone a taste of that with this chunk of a teaser . . .
By the time he met the senora de Vidal he had become deeply interested in Manila and was ready to be interested in any woman who most piquantly suggested that combination of primitive mysticism and slick modernity which he felt to be the special temper of the city and its people: pert girls dancing with abandon all night long in cabarets and fleeing in black veils to hear the first Mass at dawn; boys in the latest loudest Hollywood styles, with American slang in their mouths and the crucifix on their breasts; streets ornate with movie palaces and jammed with traffic through which leaf crowned and barefooted penitents carried a Black Christ in procession
--and always, up there above the crowds and hot dust and skeleton ruins and gay cabarets: the mountains, and the woman sleeping in a silence mighty with myth and mystery--for she was the ancient goddess of the land (said the people) sleeping out the thousand years of bondage; but when at last she awoke, it would be a Golden Age again for the land: no more suffering; no more toil; no rich and no poor.
So that when Paco Texeira met the senora de Vidal (he had been playing in Manila over a month by that time, and had been learning the city block by block and street by street) he had felt the same shock of recognition as when, glancing up from the ship's railing, he had suddenly seen the range of mountains that looked like a woman sleeping.
Yes, those are just two sentences! =D Ah, the magic of punctuation and flowing prose . . .
If that intimidates you, please don't worry. The whole book is written in a more manageable--but no less memorable--style. Joaquin just brings out the panoramic sentences when he wants to get, you know, panoramic.
And now it embarrasses me to admit this--especially since I've seen this very view in person--but I can't see the woman. Everyone else who was there that day, on the other hand, thought she was as plain as day. The story of my life.
Image Source: Mount Makiling