A friend (DW) gave me Patrick O'Brian's second novel in his "Aubrey & Maturin" series of sea stories, Post Captain. It seemed rather pedestrian from the start, and as I read along I heard unfortunate echoes of E. E. "Doc" Smith's style, with characters who were caricatures thrust into too-predictable situations for transparent plot purposes.

But two-thirds of the way through Chapter One, I met this extraordinary sentence:

Whether Mrs Williams liked her daughters at all was doubtful: she loved them, of course, and had 'sacrificed everything for them', but there was not much room in her composition for liking — it was too much taken up with being right (Hast thou considered my servant Mrs Williams, that there is none like her in the earth, a perfect and an upright woman?), with being tired, and with being ill-used.

... and (once I finished parsing it) I just had to read on!

(cf. MasterAndCommander (4 Mar 2005), ...)

TopicLiterature - 2006-10-12

(correlates: Comments on TwoComicNovels, ExtremeClarity, Worth of a State, ...)