Quotes from Charming Billy

Alice McDermott ·  0 pages

Rating: (8.7K votes)


“Billy didn't need someone to pour him his drinks, he needed someone to tell him that living isn't poetry. It isn't prayer. To tell him and convince him. And none of us could do it because every one of us thought that as long as Billy believed it was, as long as he kept himself believing it, then maybe it could still be true.”
― Alice McDermott, quote from Charming Billy


“so your husband's home with the little ones?—it'll be good for him, let him see what it's like with kids all day, right? men never understand until you ask them to do it and then they say, Well, the kids only act like this with me, it has to be much easier when you're with them, isn't that the truth? They're really thinking, You can't possibly put up with this day after day, can you?”
― Alice McDermott, quote from Charming Billy


“In the arc of an unremarkable life, a life whose triumphs are small and personal, whose trials are ordinary enough, as tempered in their pain as in their resolution of pain, the claim of exclusivity in love requires both a certain kind of courage and a good dose of delusion. Irish Mary, Eva's sister, would have been happy enough to accept my father's ring, I suppose, had Eva not chosen to stay in Ireland and marry Tom. My mother's first fiancé would have married her gladly if he hadn't been kept too long overseas by the Navy, if my father hadn't beaten him home, on points, a full year before. It might have been Cody or John in the car with your father, that day on Long Island. I might have been gone. Those of us who claim exclusivity in love do so with a liar's courage: there are a hundred opportunities, thousands over the years, for a sense of falsehood to seep in, for all that we imagine as inevitable to become arbitrary, for our history together to reveal itself as only a matter of chance and happenstance, nothing irrepeatable, or irreplaceable, the circumstantial mingling of just one of the so many million with just one more.”
― Alice McDermott, quote from Charming Billy


“There was... her capacity to believe. There was as well her capacity to be deceived, since you can't have one without the other...”
― Alice McDermott, quote from Charming Billy


“Enough is as good as a feast.”
― Alice McDermott, quote from Charming Billy



“In the arc of an unremarkable life, a life whose triumphs are small and personal, whose trials are ordinary enough, as tempered in their pain as in their resolution of pain, the claim of exclusivity in love requires both a certain kind of courage and a good dose of delusion.”
― Alice McDermott, quote from Charming Billy


“Dan Lynch was chuckling, his hand around his small glass. 'I remember Billy saying that AA was a Protestant thing when you came right down to it. Started by a bunch of Protestants. He said he didn't like the chummy way some of them were always calling Our Lord by his first name. I drove him to the first meeting and waited to take him home, 'cause Maeve didn't want him driving, and when he came out he said you could tell who the Catholics were because they'd all been bowing their heads every ten seconds while the Protestants bantered on about Jesus, Jesus Jesus.'
(And sure enough, up and down our stretch of table, heads bobbed at the name.)”
― Alice McDermott, quote from Charming Billy


About the author

Alice McDermott
Born place: in Brooklyn, New York, The United States
Born date June 27, 1953
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