Jhumpa Lahiri, Beth Kephart, and More Attention Given to the Sentence

I was happy to find Jhumpa Lahiri in The New York Times Sunday Review this weekend.  I wait, impatiently, for her books, her words.  When they come, I devour them quickly, then I come up for air, look around, wild-eyed, wish for more.  

The article (here) is about sentences.  And while I do believe my friend Beth Kephart was writing about sentences well before this article was published, I am pleased to see these thoughts extend from one of my favorite writers to another.  Because, as Lahiri says:

…it is a magical thing for a handful of words, artfully arranged, to stop time. To conjure a place, a person, a situation, in all its specificity and dimensions. To affect us and alter us, as profoundly as real people and things do.

The article is the first in a series called Draft which according to The Times will feature ‘essays by grammarians, historians, linguists, journalists, novelists and others on the art of writing — from the comma to the tweet to the novel — and why a well-crafted sentence matters more than ever in the digital age.’

And now that I’ve read the article, I have learned why I must wait for Lahiri’s words.  She waits for them too.  She takes care with them.  She does not rush.


13 thoughts on “Jhumpa Lahiri, Beth Kephart, and More Attention Given to the Sentence

  1. Melissa, thanks so much for this post and the links. I am one of those readers who, when I read a sentence that blows me away, has to pause, look up, look around, and allow the awesomeness of it to soak in. I have never read Beth Kephart as I have just heard of her about a month ago. I follow her blog because even her posts cause me to stop and ponder. I will definitely have to get one of her books now. 🙂


  2. I have not read this author's work, but I feel the same way about Annie Dillard's books. Her words are beautiful, too. And she makes me care about dragon fly larvae, for goodness sake! I think this is why I will always be a literary writer at heart. Though I may work on pacing and cliff-hangers, the books I love the most are ones I take my time reading, enjoying the nuances and the careful craft. This is important to remember when I'm in the writing/publishing rat race, for sure!


  3. I found your blog through Angie's (the interview post), and so glad I did. I just read through several of your posts and really enjoyed each of them – thanks for the beautiful writing.


  4. She is one of my favorite authors – along with Beth Kephart – and I realize now that it’s because they both craft the most wonderfully artistic and meaningful sentences.

    I’ll be looking up this article now.


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