I just finished David Mitchell’s latest book The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. It’s really amazing to read 2 or 3 of an author’s books and really observe and enjoy them as they hone their skills. Mitchell just keeps getting better and better. He demonstrates his skills in the complex plotting of this book, the unusual and meticulously researched historical setting, and the beauty and attention he lavishes on individual sentences. I have to share one of my favorites; an introductory sentence used the first time we meet a character.
“Arie Grote had a grin full of holes and a hat made of shark’s hide.”
This sentence epitomizes the title of my blog “Ideas in Things.” “No ideas but in things,” is a quote from William Carlos Williams about writing. The way I understand it is the same way Mitchell uses the grin full of holes and the hat made of shark’s hide to show us his character rather than tell us about him.
Brilliant, just brilliant! Gush, gush, gush.