Infinite Words #1: Individuals

Here’s post No. 1 in the Infinite Words series. An explanation, if you missed it, is here. Buy the book here. Add your personal favorites in the comments.

All of these bits, listed by page number, are physical descriptions of individual people. Some are major characters, some minor, some unnamed. It doesn’t really matter:

Hal can almost visualize a dark lightbulb going on above Ingersoll’s head.

Marathe found the four-limbed American’s high-heeled feet compellingly grotesque, like loaves of soft processed U.S.A. bread being slowly squeezed and mangled by the footwear’s straps.

Steeply watched Marathe blow one nostril into the handkerchief. Marathe was one of the rare types who did not examine the hankie after he blew.

The bird-of-prey-faced Dr. Dolores Rusk.

I was looking at my sneakers and making my feet alternately pigeon-toed and then penguin-toed on the bedroom’s blue carpet.

Like many gifted bureaucrats, Hal’s mother’s adoptive brother Charles Tavis is physically small…His smallness resembles the smallness of something that’s farther away from you than it wants to be, plus is receding.

Stice, oblivious, bites into his sandwich like it’s the wrist of an assailant.

His face’s skin the greenish white of extreme-depth marine life.

Krause never so much walking as making an infinite series of grand entrances into pocket after pocket of space.

Avril Incandenza is the sort of tall beautiful woman who wasn’t ever quite world-class, shiny-magazine-class beautiful, but who early on hit a certain pretty high point on the beauty scale and has stayed right at that point as she ages and lots of other beautiful women age too and get less beautiful.

He still has this intractable habit of making a move like he’s straightening a bow tie before he enters a strange room.

Gately’s teeth taste long-unbrushed.

Gwendine O’Shay, the howitzer-breasted old Green-Cardless former I.R.A.-moll who’d gotten hit on the head with a truncheon by a godless Belfast Bobbie once too often back on the Old Sod, and whose skull now was (in Facklemann’s own terminology) soft as puppy-shit in the rain.

The consensus is that Head Trainer Barry Loach resembles a wingless fly…

Barry – ever since he first slapped a Band-Aid on an X-Men figure – felt his true calling was not to the priesthood but to the liniment-and-adhesive ministry of professional athletic training. Who, finally, can say the whys and whences of each man’s true vocation?

Pemulis is a thoroughgoing chilled-revenge gourmet.

5 responses to “Infinite Words #1: Individuals

  1. Pingback: Infinite Words #7: Things « Meanderings

  2. Pingback: Infinite Words #10: Celebrities « Meanderings

  3. Pingback: Infinite Words #11: Humanity « Meanderings

  4. Pingback: Infinite Words: The End « Meanderings

  5. You defile Wallace’s memory somewhat by using “individuals” when you mean “people,” a practice he explicitly opposed (see

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