“I like old men. They can be wonderful bastards because they have nothing to lose. The only people who can be themselves are babies and old bastards.”
“All love is betrayal, in that it flatters life. The loveless man is best armed.”
“Sex is like money; only too much is enough.”
“No act is so private it does not seek applause.”
“Ken appeared, was taller than she, wanted her, was acceptable and accepted on all sides; similarly, nagging mathematical problems abruptly crack open. Foxy could find no fault with him, and this challenged her, touched off her stubborn defiant streak. She felt between his handsomeness and intelligence a contradiction that might develop into the convoluted humour of her Jew. Ken looked lika a rich boy and worked like a poor one. From Farmington, he was the only son of a Hartford laywer who never lost a case. Foxy came to imagine his birth as cool and painless, without a tear or outcry. Nothing puzzled him. There were unknowns, but no mysteries. (...) He was better-looking, better-thinking, a better machine.”
“The cloud of the consommé’s warmth enveloped her face and revived her poise. In the liquid a slice of lemon lay at fetal peace.”
“A morning later, Nancy described her first dream, the first remembered dream of her life. She and Judy Thorne were on a screened porch, catching ladybugs. Judy caught one with one spot on its back and showed it to Nancy. Nancy caught one with two spots and showed it to Judy. Then Judy caught one with three spots and Nancy one with four. Because (the child explained) the dots showed how old the ladybugs were. She told this dream to her mother, who had her repeat it to her father at breakfast. Piet was moved, beholding his daughter launched intoanother dimension of life. Like school. He was touched by her tiny stock of imagery the screened porch (neither they nor the Thornes had one; who?), the ladybugs (with turtles the most toylike of creatures), the mysterious power of numbers, that generates space and time. Piet saw down a long amplifying corridor of her dreams, and wanted to hear her tell them, to grow older with her, to shelter her forever.” John Updike, Couples, 1968.”
“this country since 1865 has an unenviable record for political violence. Four presidents, plus the attempts on Truman and both Roosevelts—as you know, Teddy was actually wounded, in his unsuccessful campaign in 1912—not to mention Huey Long. There isn’t a country west of the Balkans with any kind of the same record. The Prime Ministers of England go everywhere with a single bodyguard.”
“And the book (#7) is for whenever the hunt involves a lot of waiting around. Entertainment that won't eat up my batteries is always worth bringing.”
“Paradis: «Sì, questa è la guerra», ripete con voce remota, distante. «Nient’altro che questo».
Capisco benissimo il senso delle sue parole. «Più delle cariche che sembrano parate, più delle battaglie visibili dispiegate come stendardi, più ancora dei corpo a corpo dove ci si dibatte e si grida, questa guerra è spaventosa e sovrumana fatica, è acqua fino al ventre, è fango, escrementi e infame sporcizia. È facce ammuffite e carni a brandelli, è cadaveri che non sembrano più nemmeno cadaveri, mentre galleggiano sulla terra famelica. È tutto questo, è questa miserabile monotonia interrotta da momenti drammatici; è questa, e non la baionetta scintillante come fosse d’argento, né il chicchirichì della tromba al sorgere del sole!»”
“She went outside and down the path, pausing by the smokehouse to county the moon flower pods. Another day or two and they would be ready to bloom. The flowers were so lovely, they lasted so short a time. It was almost like the children's visit, something you looked forward to all year, then it came, and you enjoyed it so much, and then it was over, in no time. Maybe that's the way it should be...”
“One great lesson that we can learn from its systematic absence in the work of the grand theorists is that every self-conscious thinker must at all times be aware of — and hence be able to control — the levels of abstraction on which he is working. The capacity to shuttle between levels of abstraction, with ease and with clarity, is a signal mark of the imaginative and systematic thinker.”
“Adults are just making things up as they go along. And when they’re scared, adults have no more answers than us kids”
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