“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)
But novelists write for countless reasons: for money, for fame, for reviewers, for parents, for friends, for loved ones; for vanity, for pride, for curiosity, for amusement: as skilled furniture makers enjoy making furniture, as drunkards like drinking, as judges like judging, as Sicilians like emptying a shotgun into an enemy’s back. I could fill a box with reasons, and they would all be true, though not true of all. Only one same reason is shared by all of us: we wish to create as real as, but other than the world that is. (John Fowles, from The French Lieutenant’s Woman)
“Sometimes I ask myself,” Emmerich said. “What is the function of a murderer? Is he the person you go to in order to confess?” (Don DeLillo, from The Names)
Hey, look at that! I’m back in Arizona and I picked up almost two months’ worth of comics! Yeah, I’m not going to review them properly here – that would take waaaaaaaay too long. This is more of a “What I bought and the random thoughts I have about the issues and, why not, what I did in Pennsylvania for seven-and-a-half weeks.” Can you handle that??????
Continue Reading »
“Am I ever going to be told what you really think you’re doing?”
“You have been told.”
“Lie upon lie.”
“Perhaps that’s our way of telling the truth.” But then, as if she knew she had smiled once too often, she looked down and added quickly, “Maurice once said to me – when I had just asked him a question rather like yours – he said, ‘An answer is always a form of death.’ ” (John Fowles, from The Magus)
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)
“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)
“It’s like blue light when you touch me,” she’d say. “Electric blue light sparking between us.” She’d cry softly into my shoulder, tears of passion, because she couldn’t get close enough to me. (W. P. Kinsella, from The Iowa Baseball Confederacy)
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said. (A. A. Milne, from Winnie-the-Pooh)
That woman was the closest thing to himself Achilles had ever come across. But he didn’t find out until a moment after he had killed her. She was hostile, and dead: everything Achilles loved in a woman. (Roberto Calasso, from The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony)