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Dad: Intro & Washington Square Post #1

April 19, 2009

A couple words more about me before we start. In addition to being Betty’s dad, by far my biggest accomplishment, I am an old-school newspaper guy who majored in English (heavy on the 20th Century) in college and who reads more nonfiction than fiction. As noted, my tastes in the latter run to mysteries and “popular” novels. Favorite authors include Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, Kate Atkinson and John LeCarre.
So, now onto “Washington Square”:
There was a crusty old sportswriter back in San Francisco named Bucky Walter. Bucky had good advice on how to write the lede of a story: “If you don’t get ‘em in the first graf,” he would declare while chewing on a White Owl cigar, “you’re fucked.” I doubt if Bucky read much Henry James, especially not if he had taken in the first sentence of “Washington Square,” which may be the least engaging opening sentence in the English language…

“During a portion of the first half of the present century, and more particularly during the latter part of it, there flourished and practiced in the city of New York a physician who enjoyed perhaps an exceptional share of the consideration which, in the United States has always been bestowed  upon distinguished members of the medical profession.”

But it’s only the first sentence, so we’ll continue on  ….

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