I sutured split infinitives…

Word count: 250 words

Reading time: about 1 minute

A great way to improve your writing skills is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. Today’s comes from Amor Towles.

There’s been a fuss about the novel Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I know this because I discovered the book on the “fast reads” shelf of my library, which is usually reserved for bestselling titles like The Racketeer (John Grisham) and Harry Potter. Out of curiosity, I grabbed it.

The book hasn’t impressed me. Even though it earned positive reviews from usually trustworthy sources (The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe), and 231 five-star ratings on Amazon.com, I’m more inclined to side with those who awarded it only one star.

I found much of the language too Sam Spade (ish?) and I felt the main character didn’t seem like a realistic woman. As one reader put it: “Meh. Another man writing as if he can get inside a woman’s head.” I agree. He couldn’t quite manage it. That said, the occasional sentence appealed to me. Here’s one I liked:

I sutured split infinitives and hoisted dangling modifiers and wore out the seat of my best flannel skirt. 

I think I was won over by the verb “sutured” applied here to split infinitives. Clever! I also liked the juxtaposition of a secretary working on language and wearing out her skirt.

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