|Our library, days/weeks before we had beds or tables or a couch.|
Let me explain what I mean: Hall describes the inner workings of Coney Island and the people who lived/worked there in its heyday between (WWI and WWII) incredibly thoroughly. The writing style is very descriptive, uses great figurative language, and flows well. The plot points are big – abortion, murder, deception, romance – but at the same time weirdly understated. There are sometimes pages of description leading up to a brief one-paragraph actual action. When this works it builds suspense…but when it doesn’t I just get bored. It’s a fine line.
- “He was notorious. But in his rooms he could embroider the human body with beauty and he was glorious. His reputation for it brought men and women in from as far afield as Belfast and Nottingham, Stirling and Glasgow, by appointment in the winter and in the summer months they queued up outside his door. The brighter part of the man kept them coming back so that he could dress them in new, perfect, custom-fitting clothing. Give them their lasting souvenirs. Give them their natural markings. Give them a picture of and for themselves.”
- "He had a sense that he liked her, very much, and not so far away from that prospect was the notion that he could love her, perhaps… He could love her. Couldn’t he? There was the potential. There was the rub… It felt like another strangely exotic moment in his life, the pairing of Grace and love, not dissimilar to the day he had agreed to be Riley’s lad… That feeling of being befallen, of something preordained and unavoidable and uncontrollable at work, like the diaphanous flutter of Fate’s lungs, the sluicing of its digestive system, its marrowy brewing of new blood."
- "It’s an unselfish trade is ours. I’ll tell you what it is, it’s personal socialism, lad. Everyone’s included, everyone gets to look in to a person and share them… a tattoo says more of a fellow looking at it that it can do of the man who’s got it on his back."
- “People went through life like well handled jugs, collecting chips and scrapes and stains from wear and tear, from holding and pouring life.”