I am in awe of the writers who can move you through time and space, ultimately putting you where and when their stories take place. Being pulled so far into a story that you lose track of the hours and your own world is one of the greatest pleasures of reading.
In a novel I read recently, I was completely impressed with the author's various descriptions of Boston in late autumn. But, it was not because he was transporting me to a time and place I had never been, it was because he perfectly summed up a season in a city where I had lived in a simple paragraph. In so many words, he got it.... just how I saw it and felt it. When that happens, it is almost more impressive than being transported to another place and time.....it is at least equally amazing.
By early November in Boston the trees have lost most of their leaves. On wet days the branches and trunks are black and slick looking. In the afternoons a damp hard wind blows off the harbor, and then darkness swells up out of the tar streets, and the traffic lights shine like jewels. It is not winter but no longer truly fall, and the tourists are gone, and the city is stripped down to a tight rhythm of moneymaking: the mouths of subways suck in clots of workers and breathe them out again across town; the streets are full of taxis and delivery trucks and touched with a kind of coldness and sadness I have always secretly liked. - A Little Love Story, Roland Merullo