Twilight turns to dusk

Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m going to have time to write up a full-blown book review today, but instead, here’s a passage from the book I was reading earlier today that caught my attention:

Sixty minutes later the sky in the east was a dark navy blue, almost black. Visibility was fading fast. Years before, a pedantic schoolteacher in the Pacific somewhere had explained to Reacher that first comes twilight, and then comes dusk, and then comes night. She had insisted that twilight and dusk were not the same thing. If he needed a generic word for evening darkness, he was to use gloaming.

Gloaming was what he had right then. Plenty of it, but not quite as much as he would have liked.

-Child, 407, Bad Luck and Trouble

Assignment for the weekend: Find a way to work gloaming into conversation naturally.



4 Responses to Twilight turns to dusk

  1. HolyKnitter says:

    Oooh! Obscure Broadway musical reference! From Brigadoon, a song called “The Heather on the Hill,” sung by a confused young man who is beginning to suspect that he’s in love with a girl who is not his fiancee:

    Can’t we two go walkin’ together, out beyond the valley of trees?
    Out where there’s a hillside of heather, curtsyin’ gently in the breeze.
    That’s what I’d like to do: see the heather–but with you.
    The mist of May is in the gloamin’, and all the clouds are holdin’ still.
    So take my hand and let’s go roamin’ through the heather on the hill.
    The mornin’ dew is blinkin’ yonder. There’s lazy music in the rill,
    And all I want to do is wander through the heather on the hill.
    There may be other days as rich and rare.
    There may be other springs as full and fair.
    But they won’t be the same–they’ll come and go,
    For this I know:
    That when the mist is in the gloamin’, and all the clouds are holdin’ still,
    If you’re not there I won’t go roamin’ through the heather on the hill,
    The heather on the hill.

  2. HolyKnitter says:

    Also, I’m watching the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice right now, and that very-close-to-the-end scene where she walks out into the early-morning mists and happens upon Darcy… that’s definitely the gloaming. Very well cinematographed (is that a word? it should be) gloaming.

  3. goshawk says:

    So Lee Child has moved his Reacher books up into the company of Brigadoon and Pride and Prejudice by using a big vocabulary. I am glad to know that my teachers in middle school and high school were right that vocabulary is one of the most important things.

    Personally, I like Lee Child”s Reacher series a lot – but they are “airplane books”. That said, I think Brigadoon and Pride and Prejudice are way over rated, so maybe this all works out.

  4. Dana says:

    Regardless of how airplane-y the series is, Lee Child clearly has a lot of fun playing with his descriptive language. In the same book, he describes a car with a rag hanging out of the trunk as looking like “a silver lamb.” Reacher then proceeds to light the rag on fire in order to light a series of Molotov cocktails. The contrast made me laugh out loud. I think, in some ways, those passages are even better for being so unexpected in a book of this type.

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