BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Ben Fountain

For the first time in countless years I read a book twice – back to back – it was that good. So good I wanted to experience it again. Every note it hits is perfect. It is one of the most cleverly descriptive books I’ve read – not once in a while, but line by line cover to cover.

I was especially impressed with Fountain’s clever verb usage. Some examples:

Small pockets of applause spark off here and there.

Their eyes skitz and quiver with the force of the moment…

…so they default to old habits.

…overcaffeinated tag teams of grateful citizens trampolined right down the middle of his hangover.

His mouth seems winched a couple of screws too tight.

Strangers make free with Billy’s young body, kneading his arms… clapping a manly hand to his back.

The executive rudders him by the elbow toward the bar, a take-charge guy.

Photographers and TV cameramen eddy through the crowd…

Billy spots Mr. Jones sharking around the fringes…

The cheerleaders sheep together nearby, shoulders hunched, legs pressed together for warmth…

They stay turtled up to the bar.

Hawey is still gassing about his grandsons…

…a gauzy pambling and tinkling like easy-listening jazz.

The Bravos mad-dog the cops with one last stare…

Norm’s smile is jacked a couple of clicks beyond mere courtesy.

 

Want to be a better writer? Study Fountain’s sentences over and over. Note how nothing is wasted, nor superfluous, and each paints a vivid picture in the mind’s eye.

C o n n e c t
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