The Best Writing of the Week

I started reading A Tale of Two Cities last week, and in chapter five I found an amazing passage.

The passage describes a voice. Many writers, lesser writers than Dickens, might use a single adjective. “Raspy”, perhaps, or “feint”. But Charles Dickens, who is now my favorite author, goes all in when describing a voice, in this case of a man that has spent much of his life locked up in the Bastille, and then in a dark attic apartment. I want to write like this.

The faintness of the voice was pitiable and dreadful. It was not the faintness of physical weakness, though confinement and hard fare no doubt had their part in it. Its deplorable peculiarity was, that it was the faintness of solitude and disuse. It was like the last feeble echo of a sound made long and long ago. So entirely had it lost the life and resonance of the human voice, that it affected the senses like a once beautiful colour faded away into a poor weak stain. So sunken and suppressed it was, that it was like a voice underground. So expressive it was, of a hopeless and lost creature, that a famished traveller, wearied out by lonely wandering in a wilderness, would have remembered home and friends in such a tone before laying down to die.

This passage, along with the juicy book-nerd fact that it was an inspiration for The Dark Knight Rises, should be enough to send anyone right to the bookstore to buy it.

Also, check out the way Harlan Ellison describes pain.


3 thoughts on “The Best Writing of the Week”

  1. I can’t even think of something to say good enough for that. I understand why you want to write like that. I would, too. And I really should start reading my copy of the book. It’s been gathering dust for no good reason and I am a shameful twit.


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