Quotes from At Play in the Fields of the Lord

Peter Matthiessen ·  384 pages

Rating: (2.4K votes)

“You mean...” Billy exclaimed at last, “you mean...” – his voice rose high and clear – “you mean...” – and he jumped to his feet, and standing there under the giant trees, pointed at himself, a small outraged boy named William Martin Quarrier, aged eight: “You mean I just came crashing down into Ma’s under-pants?”
― Peter Matthiessen, quote from At Play in the Fields of the Lord

“In the jungle, during one night in each month, the moths did not come to the lanterns; through the black reaches of the outer night, so it was said, they flew toward the full moon.”
― Peter Matthiessen, quote from At Play in the Fields of the Lord

“Holding his breath, swaying drunkenly beneath a bulb which illumined little more than grime and moisture, Moon stared awhile at the cement wall; it took just such a hopeless international latrine in the early hours of a morning, when a man was weak in the knees, short in the breath, numb in the forehead and rotten in the gut, to make him wonder where he was, how he got there, where he was going; he realized that he did not know and never would. He had confronted this same latrine on every continent and not once had it come up with an answer; or rather, it always came up with the same answer, a suck and gurgle of unspeakable vileness, a sort of self-satisfied low chuckling: Go to it, man, you’re pissing your life away.”
― Peter Matthiessen, quote from At Play in the Fields of the Lord

“It was a gringo; in the remote corners of the world the short-sleeved flowered tourist shirt, the steel-rimmed glasses, khaki pants and bulldog shoes had become the uniform of earnest American enterprise. Moon recognized the man as the new missionary. His head was cropped too close, so that his white skull gleamed, and the red skin of his neck and jaw was riddled with old acne; his face was bald with anxiety and tiresome small agonies.”
― Peter Matthiessen, quote from At Play in the Fields of the Lord

“I’m surprised you holy people talk to me,” Wolfie said suddenly, “after what I done.” He swayed there a moment, frowning. “As a Catholic priest, I must accept men’s frailty. And as a European I am too old and tired to expend emotion upon matters I can do nothing about.”
― Peter Matthiessen, quote from At Play in the Fields of the Lord

“Well, he was scarcely a parfit gentil knight; as Wolfie said, he looked like some Hollywood Geronimo trying to kick a ninety-dollar habit.”
― Peter Matthiessen, quote from At Play in the Fields of the Lord

About the author

Peter Matthiessen
Born place: in New York City, The United States
Born date May 22, 1927
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