Thursday Quotable – The Real Cool Killers
She was as tall as his six feet two, with snow white hair cut short as a man’s and brushed straight back from her forehead. Her lips were painted carnation red and her eyelids silver but her smooth unlined jet black skin was untouched. She wore a black sequined evening gown with a red rose in the V of her mammoth bosom, which was a lighter brown than her face. She looked like the last Amazons blackened by time.
Chester Himes – The Real Cool Killers
There are many reasons why I like Himes’ stories in spite of their unevenness in quality. He has a gift for language, reading his stories is like listening to him recounting them so vivid they are. He has a gritty feel for characters and situations that lend credibility to both even when the story is so unlikely it becomes surreal. He creates cameo characters so strong that they nearly demands to become main characters (which is what actually happened with his two most famous characters, Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones).
To me, this quote is a perfect example of this last instance.
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