The Best First Sentence of the Year?

I’m reading Undertow Publication’s excellent anthology Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume Two.

It was there I encountered the following sentence, the first in the story Loving Armageddon by Amanda C. Davis:

She presses her cheek to the center of his chest, listening to the beat of his hand-grenade heart.

Now. Here’s why I think this is awesome. There’s a rhyme in each half of the sentence; cheek – chest and and beat -heart (ok, that’s a half rhyme). The repeating s sound in the first part; presses – center – chest.

It’s almost like poetry.

She presses her cheek to the center of his chest 
listening to the beat of his hand-grenade heart.

In addition to just the sound of the words and the rhythmic flow of the sentence, there is also the image. There is an intimacy with her head against his chest but also an inherent danger to both of them. The metaphor of a heart as a hand-grenade sounds true to those who have ever been in love and lost.

In the story, however, the hand-grenade is quite literal. We don’t know that when we read that sentence though.


Five stories in and the anthology is already really, really good. I recommend it wholeheartedly. If you like well-written weirdness, that is.

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