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“It is a bitter-sweet thing, knowing two cultures. Once you leave your birthplace nothing is ever the same.”
“Such is the nature of an expatriate life. Stripped of romance, perhaps that's what being an expat is all about: a sense of not wholly belonging. [...] The insider-outsider dichotomy gives life a degree of tension. Not of a needling, negative variety but rather a keep-on-your-toes sort of tension that can plunge or peak with sudden rushes of love or anger. Learning to recognise and interpret cultural behaviour is a vital step forward for expats anywhere, but it doesn't mean that you grow to appreciate all the differences.”
“The trail of lime trees outside our building is still a public loo. …where else are they supposed to go to the toilet in a city where public toilets are about as common as UFO sightings?” (pp.281-82)”
“I know of no other place that is so fascinating yet so frustrating, so aware of the world and its own place within it but at the same time utterly insular. A country touched by nostalgia, with a past so great - so marked by brilliance and achievement - that French people today seem both enriched and burdened by it. France is like a maddening, moody lover who inspires emotional highs and lows. One minute it fills you with a rush of passion, the next you're full of fury, itching to smack the mouth of some sneering shopkeeper or smug civil servant. Yes, it's a love-hate relationship.”
“You'd think the sight of beautiful Place Vendôme would lift my spirits but oddly the arc of jewellery - so obviously beyond the means of a jobless person like me - only depresses me more. I plod on feeling confused, guilty even, that I should feel unhappy in a place that looks like paradise.”
“When I was a child I was told that whoever swallowed a hock-bone would one day own land," she said. "Have you tried that? I was told a sheep's hock-bone bought a croft, a cow's an estate.”
“First of all, you have heard me talk of Logres. It was the old name for this country, thousands of years ago; in the old days when the struggle between good and evil was more bitter and open than it is now. That struggle goes on all round us all the time, like two armies fighting. And sometimes one of them seems to be winning and sometimes the other, but neither has ever triumphed altogether. Nor ever will,” he added softly to himself, “for there is something of each in every man.”
“Being nearly four years old, she was certainly a child: and children are human (if one allows the term "human" a wide sense): but she had not altogether ceased to be a baby: and babies are of course not human--they are animals, and have a very ancient and ramified culture, as cats have, and fishes, and even snakes: the same in kind as these, but much more complicated and vivid, since babies are, after all, one of the most developed species of the lower vertebrates.
In short, babies have minds which work in terms and categories of their own which cannot be translated into the terms and categories of the human mind.
It is true that they look human--but not so human, to be quite fair, as many monkeys.
Subconsciously, too, every one recognizes they are animals--why else do people always laugh when a baby does some action resembling the human, as they would at a praying mantis? If the baby was only a less-developed man, there would be nothing funny in it, surely.”
“Dr Grantly is by no means a bad man; he is exactly the man which such an education as his was most likely to form; his intellect being sufficient for such a place in the world, but not sufficient to put him in advance of it.”
“You'd challenge me and lose. You know it, I know it, but you'd still do it. Sometimes your sense of honor confuses the hell out of me.”
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