He was mingling with people who treated human flesh as pigment, life and death as a canvas, the human spine as an easel, and he could not for the life of him look away from it with all of his being: with most of it, yes, but not with the peeping bit of him. (Paul West*, from The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper)
“Truth, Vinicius, dwells somewhere so high that the gods themselves cannot see it from the top of Olympus. To you, carissime, your Olympus seems higher still, and, standing there, you call to me, ‘Come, you will see such sights as you have not seen yet!’ I might. But I answer, ‘I do not have feet for the journey.’ And if you read this letter to the end, you will acknowledge, I think, that I am right.” (Henryk Sienkiewicz, from Quo Vadis)
What a bore it is, waking up in the morning always the same person. (Jeremy Leven, from Creator)
A young girl, a frailty, simple and true, who had been unable to stand up from the piano and had had to be carried; a girl half his age; a girl who could not shoot a gun, had never been in an oyster house, atop a tower, or under the wharves; a girl hotter always than noon in August; a girl who knew nothing; had thrown him so hard that he would be out of breath forever. (Mark Helprin, from Winter’s Tale)
She didn’t realize that it was in the blood and not on the skin; she didn’t see that there could be nothing more suburban than suburbanites repudiating themselves. (Hanif Kureishi, from The Buddha of Suburbia)
“Do you know what it is to throw a child in the air and catch it on a knife in front of its mother? To be tied to a burning log? To have your ass split with an axe so that you beg the Serbs, beg them, to shoot you in the head and they don’t?
“And they go to their church after. They go to their goddamn church. I have no words …”
Ismail shuddered. “There are things that are beyond evil, that you just can’t speak about.” (Robert Kaplan, from Balkan Ghosts)