“On it flows, back and forth, a checkered stream of puzzled reminiscence: at home as they sit dog-tired from the plow before their flickering television sets, on fogged-out evenings in the Snug as they sip their third beers and gaze at the plank floor. Dusk falls, the mist rolls in and sticks to the sash windows like steam, there’s not a breath. The day’s wind stops dead, the crows go quiet. On one short stroll to the pub you smell warm milk from the dairy, paraffin stoves, coal fires, pipe smoke, silage and seaweed from the Lanyon. A helicopter is plodding out to Scilly. A tanker is lowing in the sea fog. The church tower’s chimes bang in your ear like a boxing gong. Everything is single, everything a separate smell or sound or piece of remembering. A footstep in the lane snaps like a broken neck.”
John Le Carré, The Night Manager
In the endless stacks of dross paperbacks that pile up in corners of the secret city, there are one or two good ones. The Night Manager, for one, showed up in a box of junk fiction. The story is hackneyed: “Tough guy vs. evil mastermind.” But on a couple pages he’s got some nice bits of writing, including these lines above.