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Sentence Without End (Amen)

October 20, 1985

I was fascinated by William Frost's prose in his review of "The Obedient Wife" (bemused might be a better word (dazed, absorbed, stupefied, according to Webster) to describe my reaction) for its ability (some might call it a malediction) to distend a sentence until one finds a period--for 201 words (if one counts hyphenated words as two then the figure should be raised to 203) without apparently taking a breath, and for getting at least seven ideas (the number could be debated) into a flurry of words fitted--that's perhaps stretching the word fit to its furthest limits--between the opening capital letter and period at the end 201 (or 203) words later (I thought at first it was a parody; I remember years ago somebody wrote a review of a William Faulkner story--and it was a complete review, too--in a single sentence but Frost's review didn't carry out that idea so I guess it wasn't) without stimulating the editor's pencil (do you still use pencils?) to break some of those ice floes up into cubes.

HARRISON STEPHENS

Claremont

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