“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".”
“Do you not hear the constant victory,
in the human footrace
of time, slow as fire,
sure, and thick and Herculean
accumulating its volume and adding its sad fiber?”
“When I reach the end of one row, I continue straight on away from the barn and the farm and the road. I walk until I come to a pile of hay bales and plop myself down. The sun is bright and the air is sharp. In the distance I hear the lowing of cows. It's so peaceful here.
"Merry Christmas, " I whisper to myself. "Merry Christmas, Nate.”
“Era quel nome... Marta.
Il suo nome era un sospiro, una preghiera, una supplica: sulle labbra di Fanny un bacio, su quelle di Henry un gemito, su quelle di Effie una benedizione di tale potenza che il suo intero essere era soffuso di amore e di desiderio... Marta.
Dopo mezzanotte lei percorreva il corridoio poco illuminato della casa di Crook Street. Quando passava sentivo sulla nuca il suo tocco leggero, ironico. Coglievo il suo profumo sulle tende, udivo il tono piacevolmente roco, la voce con la lieve inflessione dalla finestra aperta, mentre rideva dall'umida nebbia di Londra. La sognavo così come l'avevo vista la prima volta dalla fessura nel muro, un rosa ardente di carne cremisi, una Furia con i capelli in fiamme, che rideva attraverso il fuoco come una pazza o una dea...”
“What have I done, Obie?"
Obie flung his hand in the air, the gesture encompassing all the rotten things that had occur under Archie's command, at Archie's direction. The ruined kids, the capsized hopes. Renault last fall and poor Tubs Casper and all the others including even the faculty. Like Brother Eugene.
"You know what you've done, Archie. I don't need to draw up a list-"
"You blame me for everything, right, Obie? You and Carter and all the others. Archie Costello, the bad guy. The villain. Archie, the bastard. Trinity would be such a beautiful place without Archie Costello. Right, Obie? But it's not me, Obie, it's not me...."
"Not you?" Obie cried, fury gathering in his throat, his chest, his guts. "What the hell do you mean, not you? This could have been a beautiful place to be, Archie. A beautiful time for all of us. Christ, who else, if not you?"
"Do you really want to know who?"
"Okay, who then?" Impatient with his crap, the old Archie crap.
"It's you, Obie. You and Carter and Bunting and Leon and everybody. But especially you, Obie. Nobody forced you to do anything, buddy. Nobody made you join the Vigils. Nobody twisted your arm to make you secretary of the Vigils. Nobody pain you to keep a notebook with all that crap about the students, all their weaknesses, soft points. The notebook made your job easier, didn't it, Obie? And what was your job? Finding the victims. You found them, Obie. You found Renault and Tubs Casper and Gendreau-the first one, remember, when we were sophomores?-how you loved it all, didn't you Obie?" Archie flicked a finger against the metal of the car, and the ping was like a verbal exclamation mark. "Know what, Obie? You could have said no anytime, anytime at all. But you didn't...." Archie's voice was filled with contempt, and he pronounced Obie's name as if it were something to be flushed down a toilet.
"Oh, I'm an easy scapegoat, Obie. For you and everybody else at Trinity. Always have been. But you had free choice, buddy. Just like Brother Andrew always says in Religion. Free choice, Obie, and you did the choosing....”
“Whatever makes a man a beast also renders him pitiable. But it behoves us to be wary of these bestial men despite our compassion, for they frequently turn on their friends.”
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