In The Night by Jamaica Kincaid, 1978
The magic trick:
Starting the story with a beautiful sentence that shades everything that is to follow
So much of the collection, At The Bottom Of The River, is about language. The ideas are often beautiful and challenging and haunting. But, really, it’s the language that is most memorable. So without even digging into this story’s complex array of ideas surrounding family life and sexuality and coming of age, I will simply salute the luxuriant opening paragraph. It’s a good one. And that’s quite a trick on Kincaid’s part.
In the night, way into the middle of the night, when the night isn’t divided like a sweet drink into little sips, when there is no just before midnight, midnight, or just after midnight, when the night is round in some places, flat in some places, and in some places like a deep hole, blue at the edge, black inside, the night-soil men come.
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