The Perfect Sentence

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/07/the-perfect-sentence/60273/