Quotes from A God in Ruins

Kate Atkinson ·  468 pages

Rating: (37.7K votes)


“She had never been without a book for as long as she could remember. An only child never is.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“Literature had fuelled her childhood fantasies and convinced her that one day she would be the heroine of her own narrative.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“Moments left, Teddy thought. A handful of heartbeats. That was what life was. A heartbeat followed by a heartbeat. A breath followed by a breath. One moment followed by another moment and then there was a last moment.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“The purpose of Art,” his mother, Sylvie, said—instructed even—“is to convey the truth of a thing, not to be the truth itself.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“One’s own life seemed puny against the background of so much history.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins



“The whole edifice of civilization turned out to be constructed from an unstable mix of quicksand and imagination.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“The man who was speaking had a degree in jargon and a doctorate in nonsense.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“He was a baby once, she thought. New and perfect, cradled in his mother’s arms. The mysterious Sylvie. Now he was a feathery husk, ready to blow away. His eyes were half open, milky, like an old dog, and his mouth had grown beaky with the extremity of age, opening and closing, a fish out of water. Bertie could feel a continual tremor running through him, an electrical current, the faint buzz of life. Or death, perhaps. Energy was gathering around him, the air was static with it.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“She felt as if she had been on the outside of happiness her whole life.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“Fifty-five thousand, five hundred and seventy-three dead from Bomber Command. Seven million German dead, including the five hundred thousand killed by the Allied bombing campaign. The sixty million dead overall of the Second World War, including eleven million murdered in the Holocaust. The sixteen million of the First World War, over four million in Vietnam, forty million to the Mongol conquests, three and a half million to the Hundred Years War, the fall of Rome took seven million, the Napoleonic Wars took four million, twenty million to the Taiping Rebellion. And so on and so on and so on, all the way back to the Garden when Cain killed Abel.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins



“It was possible, she thought, that she had won the race to reach the end of civilization. There was no prize. Obviously.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“He was part of the infinite. The tree and the rock and the water. The rising of the sun and the running of the deer.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“As you got older and time went on, you realized that the distinction between truth and fiction didn’t really matter because eventually everything disappeared into the soupy, amnesiac mess of history. Personal or political, it made no difference.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“Dear God. When did language and meaning divorce each other and decide to go their separate ways?”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“I think I would rather just live my life,” Teddy said, “not make an artifice of it.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins



“Happiness, like life itself, was as fragile as a bird’s heartbeat, as fleeting as the bluebells in the wood, but while it lasted,”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“All the birds who were never born, all the songs that were never sung and so can only exist in the imagination.

And this one is Teddy's.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“The "eat" part was easy. The praying and loving were harder.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“(“An eye for an eye,” Mac said at the squadron reunion. Until everyone was blind, Teddy wondered?)”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“Writing felt like something she knew, although she only knew it from the other side – reading – and it took her a while to realize that writing and reading were completely different activities – polar opposites, in fact. And just because she could do joined-up handwriting, she discovered, didn’t mean that she could write books. But she persevered, perhaps for the first time in her life.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins



“By the end of the war there was nothing about men and women that surprised him. Nothing about anything really. The whole edifice of civilization turned out to be constructed from an unstable mix of quicksand and imagination.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“The aircraft found the ground before Teddy did and he watched as it exploded in a glittery starburst of light. He would live, he realized. There would be an afterward after all. He gave thanks to whichever god had stepped in to save him.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“Happiness, like life itself, was as fragile as a bird’s heartbeat, as fleeting as the bluebells in the wood, but while it lasted, Fox Corner was an Arcadian dream.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“Best always to praise rather than criticize.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“Now we must feast!’ Dorothy declared as they headed indoors. Not on the baby, but on its placenta, fried by Jeanette with onions and parsley. Viola declined her portion – it seemed like cannibalism, not to mention utterly disgusting.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins



“War is Man’s greatest fall from grace, of course, especially perhaps when we feel a moral imperative to fight it and find ourselves twisted into ethical knots. We can never doubt (ever) the courage of those men in the Halifaxes and Stirlings and Lancasters but the bombing war was undoubtedly a brutish affair, a crude method employing a blunt weapon, continually hampered by the weather and lack of technology (despite massive advances that war always precipitates). The large gap between what was claimed for the results of the bombing campaign and what was actually achieved was never fully understood at the time, and certainly not, I suspect, by those men flying the bombers.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“The purpose of Art is to convey the truth of a thing, not to be the truth itself.” SYLVIE BERESFORD TODD”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“A handful of heartbeats. That was what life was. A heartbeat followed by a heartbeat. A breath followed by a breath. One moment followed by another moment and then there was a last moment. Life was a s fragile as a bird's heartbeat, fleeting as the bluebells in the wood.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


“What a good husband you are", Nancy said afterward, "always taking your wife's side rather thn your mother's." "It's the side of reason I am on", Teddy said, "It just so happens that that's where you're always to be found and my mother rarely.”
― Kate Atkinson, quote from A God in Ruins


About the author

Kate Atkinson
Born place: in York, England, The United Kingdom
Born date January 1, 1951
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