You can always count on a suicide for a clichéd prose style.

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AlexanderIII

Senior Member
Russian
Dear all,
this is from a story by Anne Enright 'Felix'.

Believe me, I write for no one but myself. Mine is not the kind of crime to be spoken out loud. This, then, is the last, or the penultimate, motion of these fingers that burned alive on the cool desert of his skin. You can always count on a suicide for a clichéd prose style.

I am not sure about the meaning of the last sentence. Is it "You can always count on a suicide of a writer after his/her style of prose became clichéd" ?
 
  • I think it means that a 'suicide' (a person about to do so, or who has already done it) is likely to use cliched prose.


    ADDED: I think the logic is something like this. She writes for no one but herself. Hence she doesn't pretend or dress things up. A 'suicide', though, who's writing a note to his or her friends or to 'the world' is likely to go for drama, in a simple cliched way, e.g. write a note saying, "I cannot live in this cruel world that always breaks my heart."

    FURTHER ADDED: As James suggested below, she might possibly consider suicide, so she
    may well be applying the generalization to herself. A kind of caution about the danger of writing bad prose in this situation.
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Is the character who is writing this about to commit suicide? If so, he/she may be mocking the writing style ("This, then, is the last..."). I'm only guessing because of the "this is the last.. or penultimate... motion..." and "Mine is not the kind of crime to be spoken out loud" (suicide is a crime in many countries).
     
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    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I've looked through the last page and there are some signs there that she does intend to go. So then the meaning of the sentence in question is something like "You can always expect a suicide to write in a clichéd prose style." Is it right?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's a twist on the words of Nabokov's Humbert Humbert: "You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style". (Lolita)
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    What does the "This, then is the last... motion of these fingers..." mean, then? I'm curious now. :)
    I've looked through the last page and there are some signs there that she does intend to go. So then the meaning of the sentence in question is something like "You can always expect a suicide to write in a clichéd prose style." Is it right?
    I am really confused too, because I read this as James did, a suicide note poking fun at her own prose. IF she does not intend to kill herself what purpose does it serve to say this at all?
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    May I ask why the article A is used with suicide? I remember the right way to say would be "to commit suicide"? Or is it the case where "a suicide" means a person willing to to commit suicide?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    May I ask why the article A is used with suicide? I remember the right way to say would be "to commit suicide"? Or is it the case where "a suicide" means a person willing to to commit suicide?
    Yes, we all thought this meant a person who was willing / intending to commit suicide.
     
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