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
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“I wish... I wish he wasn't quite so ashamed of me. And if he could stop feeling so ashamed of himself, then maybe we might stand a chance.”
― Malorie Blackman, quote from Boys Don't Cry


“Is life worth living in the jaws of society's trash can for misfit minds? What can I possibly achieve or contribute to mankind in this steel and concrete box with a damn loud laughing wall that moves? Just give up?”
― Daniel Keyes, quote from The Minds of Billy Milligan


“But what all these responses have in common is that they point to the decisive power of information and stories [...]”
― Wes Moore, quote from The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates


“Paul said it would be better for them to express their views back in Britain, because “there, people listen a bit more. In America, they hold everything against you.”
― Philip Norman, quote from John Lennon: The Life


“The spider venom was Ebola in thirty seconds.”
― Michael Crichton, quote from Micro


Interesting books

The Girl of Ink and Stars
(4.2K)
The Girl of Ink and...
by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Meadowland: the private life of an English field
(692)
Meadowland: the priv...
by John Lewis-Stempel
Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe
(3.6K)
Just Six Numbers: Th...
by Martin J. Rees
The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death, and Happiness
(1.8K)
The Philosopher and...
by Mark Rowlands
The Passenger
(20.4K)
The Passenger
by Lisa Lutz
Dead by Morning
(170)
Dead by Morning
by Kayla Krantz

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2023, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.