Alice Munro · 323 pages
Rating: (13.7K votes)
“A fight like this was stunning, revealing not just how much he was on the lookout for enemies, but how she too was unable to abandon argument which escalated into rage. Neither of them would back off, they held bitterly to principles.
Can't you tolerate people being different, why is this so important?
If this isn't important, nothing is.
The air seemed to grow thick with loathing. All over a matter that could never be resolved. They went to bed speechless, parted speechless the next morning, and during the day were overtaken by fear - hers that he would never come home, his that when he did she would not be there. Their luck held, however. They came together in the late afternoon pale with contrition, shaking with love, like people who had narrowly escaped an earthquake and had been walking around in naked desolation.”
“And now such a warm commotion, such busy love.”
“What made more sense was that the bargain she was bound to was to go on living as she had been doing. The bargain was already in force. Days and years and feelings much the same, except that the children would grow up, and there might be one or two more of them and they too would grow up, and she and Brendan would grow older and then old.
It was not until now, not until this moment, that she had seen so clearly that she was counting on something happening, something which would change her life. She had accepted her marriage as one big change, but not as the last one.
So, nothing now but what she or anybody else could sensibly foresee. That was to be her happiness, that was what she had bargained for, nothing secret, or strange.
Pay attention to this, she thought. She had a dramatic notion of getting down on her knees. This is serious...
It was a long time ago that this happened. In North Vancouver, when they lived in the Post and Beam house. When she was twenty-four years old and new to bargaining.”
“There was a danger whenever I was on home ground. It was the danger of seeing my life through other eyes than my own.
Seeing it as an ever-increasing roll of words like barbed wire, intricate, bewildering, uncomforting—set against the rich productions, the food, flowers, and knitted garments, of other women’s domesticity. It became harder to say that it was worth the trouble.”
“They spoke like caricatures, it was unbearable.”
“The job she had to do, as she saw it, was to remember everything—and by “remember” she meant experience it in her mind, one more time—then store it away forever. This day’s experience set in order, none of it left ragged or lying about, all of it gathered in like treasure and finished with, set aside.”
“Fiona had never learned her mother's language and she had never shown much respect for the stories that it preserved-the stories that Grant had taught and written about, and still did write about, in his working life. She referred to their heroes as "old Njal" or "old Snorri." But in the last few years she had developed an interest in the country itself and looked at travel guides. She read about William Morris's trip, and Auden's. She didn't really plan to travel there. She said the weather was too dreadful. Also-she said-there ought to be one place you thought about and knew about and maybe longed for-but never did get to see.”
“I did not understand why Alfrida looked at him with such a fiercely encouraging smile. All of my experience of a woman with men, of a woman listening to her man, hoping and hoping that he will establish himself as somebody she can reasonably be proud of, was in the future.”
“When you died, of course, these wrong opinions were all there was left”
“Sometimes that’s just the way it is. You never really know until you try something on. The thing is,” she said, with a new, more moderate conviction”
“They went bowling and curling and regularly joined other couples for coffee and doughnuts at Tim Horton’s.”
“Maybe the man in the moon will walk in here and fall in love with me and then I'll be all set!”
“She felt herself connected at present with the way people felt when they had to write certain things down - she was connected by here feelings of anger, of petty outrage, and her excitement at what she was doing to Neal, to pay him back. But the life she was carrying herself into might not give her anybody to be angry at, or anybody who owned her anything, anybody who could possibly be rewarded or punished or truly affected by what she might do. Her feelings might become of no importance to anybody but herself, and yet they would be bulging up inside her, squeezing her heart and breath.
She was not, after all, somebody people flocked to in the world. And yet she was choosy, in her own way.
The bus was still not in the sight when she got up and walked home.”
“never in her life had this silly feeling of being enhanced by what she had put on herself.”
“Porém ela sabia agora que havia épocas em que o feio e o bonito serviam exatamente para o mesmo propósito, quando qualquer coisa para a qual se olha é apenas um gancho onde pendurar as sensações descontroladas de seu corpo e os bocados e pedaços de sua mente.”
“E, ainda assim, uma euforia. A euforia indizível que se sente quando um desastre galopante guarda a promessa de libertar a pessoa de toda a responsabilidade de sua própria vida.”
“Sometimes that’s just the way it is. You never really know until you try something on. The thing is,” she said, with a new, more moderate conviction growing in her voice, “the thing is you have a fine figure, but it’s a strong figure. You”
“Words! They seemed his only experience, his only sophistications. And yet what were they? Merciless little creatures, crowding about and eager for command, each with its own physical character, an ancestry, an expectation of life and a hope of posterity.”
“Sometimes college seemed merely an endless exhausting string of appointments.”
“What did I do to deserve you?” I wonder aloud, feeling like this woman just doesn't stop bewitching me.
“Nothing really. You bossed me into dating you. Fucked me good, and then you wouldn’t leave me alone. Now you’re stuck with me.”
“Nothing happens in my life. Nothing has to happen, she said, for it to be life.”
“I'm your friend forever, and if that's all I get, then that's what I'm taking because only when you are here...do I feel like my life is worth a damn”
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