In need of distraction, I started reading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber aloud to fill the empty spaces in my flat. I’ve adored that book since it was recommended to me back in my early twenties, but I’ve never actually paid attention to the vocal components of the language. Reading aloud, you quickly recognise just how ornate and well-crafted the opening sentence of the titular story really is. Consider, and read aloud if you’re so inclined:
I remember how, that night, I lay awake in the wagon-lit in a tender, delicious ecstasy of excitement, my burning cheek pressed against the impeccable linen of the pillow and the pounding of my heart mimicking the great pistons ceaselessly thrusting the train that bore me through the night, away from Paris, away from girlhood, away from the white, enclosed quietude of my mother’s apartment, into the unguessable country of marriage
The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter
There are rhythms to that sentence you don’t even recognise until you’re trying to manage your breathing the entire way through it. Hell, I didn’t even remember it being a single sentence until I got to the end.
I’ve got a mental list of stories I can re-read that are so damn good I’ll always want to write something new in an attempt to do something half as good. The Bloody Chamber is basically a collection full of them.