“I was carried away, swept along by the mighty stream of words pouring from the hundreds of pages. To me it was the ultimate book: once you had read it, neither your own life nor the world you lived in would ever look the same.”
“It would evidently take more than a political regime, more than dire poverty to stop a woman from wanting to be well-dressed: it was a desire as old as the world, as old as the desire for children.”
“In the end we had changed the position of the hands so many times that we had no idea what the time really was.”
“Mozart is thinking of Chairman Mao”
“I kept my door more securely locked than ever and passed the time with foreign novels. Since Balzac was Luo's favourite I put him to one side, and with the ardour and earnestness of my eighteen years I fell in love with one author after another: Flaubert, Gogol, Melville, and even Romain Rolland.”
“The only thing Luo was really good at was telling stories. A pleasing talent to be sure, but a marginal one, with little future in it. Modern man has moved beyond the age of the Thousand-and-One-Nights, and modern societies everywhere, whether socialist or capitalist, have done away with the old storytellers — more's the pity.”
“She said she had learnt one thing from Balzac: that a woman's beauty is a treasure beyond price.”
“La beauté d'une femme est un trésor qui n'a pas de prix.”
“Often, after extinguishing the oil lamp in our house on stilts, we would lie on our beds and smoke in the dark. Book titles poured from our lips, the mysterious and exotic names evoking unknown worlds. It was like Tibetan incense, where you need only say the name, Zang Xiang, to smell the subtle, refined fragrance and to see the joss sticks sweating beads of scented moisture which, in the lamplight, resemble drops of liquid gold.”
“By the time we arrived the film had already started, and there was only standing room left behind the screen, where everything was in reverse and everyone was left-handed.”
“We had been so unlucky. By the time we had finally learnt to read properly, there had been nothing left for us to read.”
“Por lo que a las novelas largas se refiere, salvo por algunas excepciones, me mostraba bastante desconfiado. Pero 'Jean-Christophe' -de Romain Rolland-, con su empecinado individualismo, sin mezquindad alguna, fue para mí una saludable revelación. Sin él, nunca hubiera conseguido comprender el esplendor y la amplitud del individualismo. Hasta aquel encuentro robado con 'Jean-Christophe', mi pobre cabeza educada y reeducada ignoraba, sencillamente, que fuera posible luchar en solitario contra el mundo entero".”
“Destiny is a good thing to accept when it's going your way. When it isn't, don't call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck.”
“How exquisitely human was the wish for permanent happiness, and how thin human imagination became trying to achieve it.”
“I am by profession an agent and no writer, so you will have to pardon any lack of literary flourish.”
“Something has fallen asleep there, that's all, but it's warm, and it's hers, it's the pain imprinted on her, and his healing powers rise up. It's her with everything she now is.”
“This search is all about faith. Faith that what's clearly impossible might somehow turn out not to be. Faith that we can do what we never would have thought we could. Faith to keep going when everything tells us we should turn back.”
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