“(I)f we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.”
“His own opinion, which he does not air, is that the origin of speech lie in song, and the origins of song in the need to fill out with sound the overlarge and rather empty human soul.”
“He continues to teach because it provides him with a livelihood; also because it teaches him humility, brings it home to him who he is in the world. The irony does not escape him: that the one who comes to teach learns the keenest of lessons, while those who come to learn learn nothing.”
“Because a woman's beauty does not belong to her alone. It is a part of the bounty she brings into the world. She has a duty to share it.”
“It’s admirable, what you do, what she does, but to me animal-welfare people are a bit like Christians of a certain kind. Everyone is so cheerful and well-intentioned that after a while you itch to go off and do some raping and pillaging. Or to kick a cat.”
“Was it serious? I don't know. It certainly had serious consequences.”
“It gets harder all the time, Bev Shaw once said. Harder, yet easier. One gets used to things getting harder; one ceases to be surprised that what used to be hard as hard can be grows harder yet.”
“Poetry speaks to you either at first sight or not at all. A flash of revelation and a flash of response.”
“But the truth, he knows, is otherwise. His pleasure in living has been snuffed out. Like a leaf on a stream, like a puffball on a breeze, he has begun to float towards his end. He sees it quite clearly, and it fills him with (the word will not go away) despair. The blood of life is leaving his body and despair is taking its place, despair that is like a gas, odourless, tasteless, without nourishment. You breathe it in, your limbs relax, you cease to care, even at the moment when the steel touches your throat.”
“She gives him what he can only call a sweet smile. 'So you are determined to go on being bad. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. I promise, no one will ask you to change.”
“For himself, then. For his idea of the world, a world in which men do not use shovels to beat corpses into a more convenient shape for processing.”
“he knows too much about himself to subject her to a morning after, when he will be cold, surly, impatient to be alone.”
“Scapegoating worked in practice while it still had religious powers behind it. You loaded the sins of the city on to the goat’s back and drove it out, and the city was cleansed. It worked because everyone knew how to read the ritual, including the gods. Then the gods died, and all of a sudden you had to cleanse the city without divine help. Real actions were demanded instead of symbolism. The censor was born, in the Roman sense. Watchfulness became the watchword: the watchfulness of all over all. Purgation was replaced by the purge.”
“I don't think we are ready to die, any of us, not without being escorted.”
“He would not mind hearing Petrus's story one day. But preferably not reduced to English. More and more he is convinced that English is an unfit medium for the truth of South Africa. Stretches of English code whole sentences long have thickened, lost their articulations, their articulateness, their articulatedness. Like a dinosaur expiring and settling in the mud, the language has stiffened. Pressed into the mold of English, Petrus's story would come out arthritic, bygone"(117).”
“His mind has become a refuge for old thoughts, idle, indigent, with nowhere else to go. He ought to chase them out, sweep the premises clean. But he does not care to do so, or does not care enough"(72).”
“I'm sorry, my child, I just find it hard to whip up an interest in the subject. It's admirable, what you do, what she does, but to me animal-welfare people are a bit like Christians of a certain kind. Everyone is so cheerful and well-intentioned that after a while you itch to go off and do some raping and pillaging. Or to kick a cat.”
“Temperament is fixed, set. The skull, followed by the temperament: the two hardest parts of the body. Follow your temperament. It is not a philosophy, It is a rule, like the Rule of St Benedict.”
“He would not mind hearing Petrus’s story one day. But preferably not reduced to English. More and more he is convinced that English is an unfit medium for the truth of South Africa.”
“Hatred . . . When it comes to men and sex, David, nothing surprises me any more. Maybe, for men, hating the woman makes sex more exciting. You are a man, you ought to know. When you have sex with someone strange - when you trap her, hold her down, get her under you, put all your weight on her - isn't it a killing? Pushing the knife in; exiting afterwards, leaving the body behind covered in blood - doesn't it feel like murder, like getting away with murder?”
“Do you hope you can expiate the crimes of the past by suffering in the present?”
“So it has come, the day of testing. Without warning, without fanfare, it is here, and he is in the middle of it. In his chest his heart hammers so hard that it too, in its dumb way, must know. How will they stand up to the testing, he and his heart?”
“She does not reply. She would rather hide her face, and he knows why. Because of the disgrace. Because of the shame. That is what their visitors have achieved; that is what they have done to this confidant, modern young woman. Like a stain the story is spreading across the district. Not her story to spread but theirs: they are its owners. How they put her in her place, how they showed her what a woman was for.”
“Maybe. But in my experience poetry speaks to you either at first sight or not at all. A flash of revelation and a flash of response. Like lightning. Like falling in love.’ Like falling in love. Do the young still fall in love, or is that mechanism obsolete by now, unnecessary, quaint, like steam locomotion? He is out of touch, out of date. Falling in love could have fallen out of fashion and come back again half a dozen times, for all he knows.”
“Craniul,si apoi temperamentul:cele mai solide parti din corpul omenesc.”
“..., según mi experiencia la poesía te habla y te llega a primera vista o no te llegará nunca. Hay un destello de revelación y un destello reflejo de respuesta. Es como el rayo. Como enamorarse.”
“Vengeance is like a fire. The more it devours, the hungrier it gets.”
“In a sudden and soundless eruption, as if he has fallen into a waking dream, a stream of images pours down, images of women he has known on two continents, some from so far away in time that he barely recognizes them. Like leaves blown on the wind, pell-mell, they pass before him. A fair field full of folk: hundreds of lives all tangled with his. He holds his breath, willing the vision to continue.
What has happened to them, all those women, all those lives? Are there moments when they too, or some of them, are plunged without warning into the ocean of memory? The German girl: is it possible that at this very instant she is remembering the man who picked her up on the roadside in Africa and spent the night with her?
Enriched: that was the word the newspapers picked on to jeer at. A stupid word to let slip, under the circumstances, yet now, at this moment, he would stand by it. By Melanie, by the girl in Touws River; by Rosalind, Bev Shaw, Soraya: by each of them he was enriched, and by the others too, even the least of them, even the failures. Like a flower blooming in his breast, his heart floods with thankfulness.”
“The world isn’t fair. And no matter how good and decent you are, no matter how much you give to others, someone is always going to hate you for no other reason than the fact that you breathe. You can’t help that. You can’t change people or their minds once they’ve allowed them to get twisted by hatred. But you can change how you deal with them. Never back down, but walk away when you can, fight when you must. Whatever you do don’t give them the power to hurt you. Don’t let them inside you. They’re not worth it. Live your life for yourself. Stay true to yourself and if they can’t see the beauty that is you, it’s their loss. Let the bitterness take them to their graves. Spend your time on what matters most. Being you and appreciating the people who see you for who and what you are. The people who love you, and the ones that you love. They are all that matter. Let the rest go to hell.” Those”
“Why didn’t I listen to my drill instructor from boot camp? He told us flat out, ‘Don’t EVER volunteer for anything! If you’re picked you go, but don’t EVER volunteer your worthless lives!’ Words to live by.”
“I’m going to fuck you right now, Emily. I’m going to bring you so much pleasure you’ll never think about walking away from me again.”
“Enemies are a given. Friends are not.”
“Since it was there, Larkin got another bowl, spooned up stew for himself.
“He fights with us. We’re an army.”
“An army? Talk about delusions of grandeur. What are you?” she asked Glenna.
“So, we’ve got a witch, a sorcerer, a couple of refugees from Geall and a vampire. Some army.”
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