Monday, September 23, 2013

The worst sentence in Salinger so far

I’m up to page 137 in David Shields and Shane Salerno’s Salinger, “the interminable official book of the acclaimed documentary film.” The following sentence, from Shields, appears on page 133. It is the worst sentence I have read so far:

This is the moment at which — amid war, champagne, and male bonding — Salinger revealed his anatomical deformity to Hemingway, according to Kleeman.
The “deformity,” as explained elsewhere, was an undescended testicle. Yes, a great secret of the book is that Salinger had an undescended testicle. Which supposedly explains his (Salinger’s, not the testicle’s) choice to avoid “the media glare.”

Revealed is an awkward word here. I hope that Salinger told Hemingway about it and didn’t — what with all the bonding — drop trou. And that closing “according to Kleeman”: not the way to end a sentence.

That a writer should shun publication and daunt biographers for years on end, only to fall into these hands: karma must indeed be a bitch. I remain on the lookout for a sentence still worse: I’m trying to get my money’s worth from this book.

Related reading
All J. D. Salinger posts (Pinboard)

[“Acclaimed documentary film”? The film was just recut after unfavorable reviews.]

comments: 0