the_child and I have talked frequently about “perfect sentences.” A sentence is of course perfect only in context, but within context there can be some real humdingers. Probably my favorite (and it’s actually a phrase, part of a longer sentence) is from Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather, “Man is where the falling angel meets the rising ape.” She and I spent a good forty-five minutes one day analyzing that one.
I am also quite fond of Tom Stoppard’s line from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, “We cross our bridges when we come to them, and burn them behind us, with nothing left to show for our progress except the memory of the smell of smoke and the presumption that our eyes once watered.”
Gene Wolfe has an excellent one from Book of the New Sun, “In the end, our one unforgiveable sin is that we can only be who we are.”
All quotes from memory, and therefore likely wobbly.
This afternoon the_child asked me to ask you what your favorite sentences were — who wrote them (including yourself, that’s allowed), where they appeared, and if you like, what they mean, either to the world or to you personally.