From Clive James’s essay “Blood on the Borders,”* about crime fiction, in the April 9 New Yorker:
Camillieri can do a character’s whole backstory in half a paragraph, and only rarely do you get that giveaway trade trick by which one character tells another what he already knows, so that you can find out. “You know what he’s like,” says A to B about C, and then proceeds to tell B what C is like, as if B didn’t already know.From Don DeLillo’s* short story “Still-Life,” in the same issue:
“There’s nothing to discuss right now. He needs to stay away from things, including discussions.”
“You know Keith.”
“I’ve always admired that about him. He gives the impression there’s something deeper to him than hiking and skiing, or playing cards. But what?”
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Succinct and very much to the point, I’d say.