Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #5


by Nicholas Rombes

From Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday. Simon and Schuster, 2018:

The effect, on Alice, was dazzling and demoralizing all at once: reverberating in her sternum, the music made her more desperate than ever to do, invent, create—to channel all her own energies into the making of something beautiful and unique to herselfbut it also made her want to love.

The sentence comes at a piano concert, after an intermission. Alice, a young editor, and the older writer Ezra (not Philip Roth!) have settled back into their seats. Amid the gross, funny, sad sexual encounters between Alice and Ezra come these moments of reflection, of yearning, of tentacling thoughts. The way wordless music gives you room to think, to imagine, to wonder if what you’re feeling at that moment can be sustained after the moment passes. For some of us, those moments are what get us through, what sustain us. For some of us, they are all we have.


About the Author:

Nicholas Rombes is author of the novel The Absolution of Robert Acestes Laing (Two Dollar Radio), Ramones, from the 33 1/3 series (Bloomsbury) and Cinema in the Digital Age (Columbia UP). His film The Removals was released in 2016. Rombes is a columnist and contributing editor at Filmmaker Magazine, and teaches in Detroit, Michigan.

Each week Rombes will comment on a “perfect” sentence from a novel or short story he’s reading. He encourages you to submit your perfect sentence and comment via Twitter @Requiem102.