The Perfect Sentence

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Like Ta-Nehisi, I'm always on the lookout for the perfect sentence. The blogosphere isn't stuffed with them, that's for sure. For good writing, you have to look at, you know, books and magazines and such.

In any case, I was just reading Barbara Demick's report from North Korea in last week's New Yorker (you'll have to subscribe to read the whole piece -- damn you, Remnick, for keeping Goldblog readers from experiencing your magazine for free), which contains an absolute jewel of clarity and understatement. Demick writes, in reference to the Chinese border city of Yanji, "The city is among the coldest in China, and dog-meat soup is its culinary specialty." That's all. And yet it contains everything.

I'm sure whole books have been written about Yanji (well, actually I'm not so sure), but one brief, crystalline sentence tells the story.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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