“… No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the lifesensation of any given epoch of one’s existence – that which makes its truth, its meaning – its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream – alone …” (Joseph Conrad, from Heart of Darkness)
“We met long ago,” said Galip. “When we first met, your legs looked so thin and so delicate that I was afraid they would break. Your skin was rough when you were a kid, but as you got older, after we graduated from middle school, your complexion became rosy and incredibly fine. If they took us to the beach on hot summer days when we went crazy from playing indoors, coming back with ice-cream cones we bought at Tarabya, we would scratch letters with our long nails into the salt on each other’s arms. I loved the fuzz on your skinny arms. I loved the peachy color of your suntanned legs. I loved the way your hair spilled over your face when you reached for something on the shelf above my head.”
“We should have met long ago.”
“I used to love the strap marks left on your shoulders by the bathing suit you borrowed from your mother, the way you absentmindedly tugged at your at your hair when you were nervous, the way you caught between your middle finger and thumb a speck of tobacco left by your filterless cigarette on the tip of your tongue, the way your mouth fell open watching a movie, the way you unwittingly scarfed up the roasted garbanzos and nuts in the dish under your hand while you read a book, the way you kept losing your keys, the way you screwed up your eyes to see because you refused to accept you were nearsighted. When you narrowed your eyes on a distant point and absconded for parts unknown, I understood that you were thinking of something else, and I loved you apprehensively. Oh my God! I loved with fear and trepidation what I couldn’t know of your mind as much as I loved what I did know.” (Orhan Pamuk, from The Black Book)
“You see,” Lardner said at the long bar of the Artist and Writers Restaurant, “Duke thought if his dream came true he would be a different person. He’s not unhappy about the dream. He’s unhappy that he is still the same man. Happens to a lot of us. We get somewhere we wanted and find we’re still ourselves.” (Roger Kahn, from The Boys of Summer)
Actually, his statement in its entirety was, “The rich are the most discriminated-against minority in the world. Openly or covertly, everybody hates the rich because, openly or covertly, everybody envies the rich. Me, I love the rich. Somebody has to love them. Sure, a lot o’ rich people are assholes, but believe me, a lot o’ poor people are assholes, too, and an asshole with money can at least pay for his own drinks.” (Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume)
For it is a general rule of human nature that people despise those who treat them well and look up to those who make no concessions. (Thucydides, from History of the Peloponnesian War)
The thousands stand and chant. Around them in the world, people ride escalators going up and sneak secret glances at the faces going down. People dangle teabags over hot water in white cups. Cars run silently on the autobahns, streaks of painted light. People sit at desks and stare at office walls. They smell their shirts and drop them in the hamper. People bind themselves into numbered seats and fly across time zones and high cirrus and deep night, knowing there is something they’ve forgotten to do.
The future belongs to crowds. (Don DeLillo, from Mao II)
Ah, villains, hath that Mortimer escap’d?
With him is Edmund gone associate?
And will Sir John of Hainault lead the round?
Welcome, o’ God’s name, madam, and your son!
England shall welcome you and all your rout.
Gallop apace, bright Phoebus, through the sky;
And, dusky Night, in rusty iron car,
Between you both shorten the time, I pray,
That I may see that most desired day,
When we may meet these traitors in the field!
Ah, nothing grieves me, but my little boy
Is thus misled to countenance their ills!
Come, friends, to Bristow, there to make us strong:
And, winds, as equal be to bring them in,
As you injurious were to bear them forth!
You know, your menstruating heart just isn’t bleeding enough for two.
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“And if I offended you, oh I’m sorry, but maybe you need to be offended, but here’s my apology and one more thing …”1
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Two weeks of reviews! Normally I’d just skip last week’s haul, but what the hell. I’m sure the kids can look after themselves, right? I’ll try to keep the ones about last week’s books short, though. The operative word being “try.”
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