Another Great Sentence

Book: The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

This sentence is passionately rich, full, and, oh, so meaningful.  I’ve not run across an explanation of loss quite like this before.

I wanted to bring to your attention, for those of you interested in punctuation, the use of dashes here.  They are set up to highlight a beautifully constructed list, accenting the main sentence, of how grief can change the physical features in all of us.  Brilliant construction!  Brilliant sentence.  (The book is really good too.) 



Or perhaps it is that time doesn’t heal wounds at all, perhaps that is the biggest lie of them all, and instead what happens is that each wound penetrates the body deeper and deeper until one day you find that the sheer geography of your bones—the angle of your head, the jutting of your hips, the sharpness of your shoulders, as well as the luster of your eyes, the texture of your skin, the openness of your smile—has collapsed under the weight of your griefs.



The author always has poetic license.  Had this been a passage that I was editing, I would have separated the complete clauses at the beginning of the passage as such.


  1. Or perhaps it is that time doesn’t heal wounds at all; perhaps that is the biggest lie of them all; and instead what happens is that each wound penetrates the body deeper and deeper until one day you find that the sheer geography of your bones—the angle of your head, the jutting of your hips, the sharpness of your shoulders, as well as the luster of your eyes, the texture of your skin, the openness of your smile—has collapsed under the weight of your griefs.

  2. Or perhaps it is that time doesn’t heal wounds at all; perhaps that is the biggest lie of them all, and, instead, what happens is that each wound penetrates the body deeper and deeper until one day you find that the sheer geography of your bones—the angle of your head, the jutting of your hips, the sharpness of your shoulders, as well as the luster of your eyes, the texture of your skin, the openness of your smile—has collapsed under the weight of your griefs.

Some people might add an extra comma after instead: “; and instead, what”.

Works Cited

Umrigar, Thrity. The Space Between Us. HarperCollins E-books. Kindle Edition, 2009, p. 67.

Advertisements