Jeff Holcomb's Reviews > The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
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Dec 17, 10


An excellent first sentence (with maybe the best use of an appositive phrase I've ever seen): "At the beginning of the summer I had lunch with my father, the gangster, who was in town for the weekend to transact some of his vague business." In my opinion, much better than Chabon's originally drafted first sentence, which ended up in this slightly different form on the final printed page two: "Then he asked me what my plans were for the summer, and in the flush of some strong emotion or other I said, more or less: It's the beginning of summer and I'm standing in the lobby of a thousand-story grand hotel, where a bank of elevators a mile long and an endless red row of monkey attendants in gold braid wait to carry me up, up, up through the suites of moguls, of spies, and of starlets, to rush me straight to the zeppelin mooring at the art deco summer, where they keep the huge dirigible of August tied up and bobbing in the high winds. On the way to the shining needle at the top I will wear a lot of neckties, I will buy five or six works of genius on 45 rpm, and perhaps too many times I will find myself looking at the snapped spine of a lemon wedge at the bottom of a drink. I said, 'I anticipate a coming season of dilated time and of women all in disarray.'" Just goes to show you: trust in the power of revision.
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