Quotes from Little, Big

John Crowley ·  538 pages

Rating: (8.7K votes)


“The things that make us happy make us wise. ”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Love is a myth.'
'Love is a myth,' Grandfather Trout said. 'Like summer.'
'What?'
'In winter,'Grandfather Trout said, 'summer is a myth. A report, a rumor. Not to be believed in. Get it? Love is a myth. So is summer.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“The further in you go, the bigger it gets.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“She had always lived her best life in dreams. She knew no greater pleasure than that moment of passage into the other place, when her limbs grew warm and heavy and the sparkling darkness behind her lids became ordered and doors opened; when conscious thought grew owl's wings and talons and became other than conscious.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“It was anyway all a long time ago; the world, we know now, is as it is and not different; if there was ever a time when there were passages, doors, the borders open and many crossing, that time is not now. The world is older than it was. Even the weather isn’t as we remember it clearly once being; never lately does there come a summer day such as we remember, never clouds as white as that, never grass as odorous or shade as deep and full of promise as we remember they can be, as once upon a time they were.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big



“God, he thought, her eyes are so bright, flashing, deep, full of promise, all those things eyes are in books but never are in life, and she was his.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Learning to decipher words had only added to the pleasures of holding spines and turning pages, measuring the journey to the end with a thumb-riffle, poring over frontispieces. Books! Opening with a crackle of old glue, releasing perfume; closing with a solid thump.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“There was after all no mystery in the end of love, no mystery but the mystery of love itself, which was large certainly but as real as grass, as natural and unaccountable as bloom and branch and their growth.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Well, do you do that consciously?" Daily Alice asked, only partly of Cloud.
"Do what?" Cloud said. "Grow up? No. Well. In a sense. You see it's inevitable, or refuse to. You greet it or don't -- take it in trade, maybe, for all you're going to lose anyway. Or you can refuse, and have what you've got to lose snatched from you, and never take payment -- never see a trade is possible.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big



“Violet said nothing, though big pearly tears, like a child's, trembled at her lashes. She suddenly missed John very much. Into him she could pour all the inarticulate perceptions, all the knowings and unknowings she felt, which, though he couldn't understand them really, he would receive reverently, and out of him would come then the advice, the warnings, the clever decisions she could never have made.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Their laughter rose to the ceiling and shook hands there.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“He knew he would have to believe in order to go where she had been; knew that, if he believed, he could go there even if it didn't exist, if it was make-believe. He moved the hand she had drawn around her down her long flesh, and with a little sound she pressed herself against him. He searched himself for that old will, long in disuse. If she went there, ever, he didn't want to be left behind; wanted to never be farther from than this.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“But life is wakings-up, all unexpected, all surprising.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“The tears of those who never cry, the calm, the levelheaded ones, are terrible to see. She seemed to be split or torn by the force of the tears, which she squeezed her eyes shut against, which she forced back with her fist against her lips. Smokey, afraid and awed, came immediately to her as he might to rescue his child from a fire, without thought and without knowing quite what he would do. When he tried to take her hand, speak softly to her, she only trembled more violently, the red cross branded on her face grew uglier; so he enveloped her, smothered the flames, Disregarding her resistance, as well as he could he covered her, having a vague idea that he could by tenderness invade her and then rout her grief, whatever it was, by main strength. He wasn't sure he wasn't himself the cause of it, wasn't sure if she would cling to him for comfort or break him in rage, but he had no choice anyway, savior or sacrifice, it didn't matter so long as she could cease suffering.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big



“First, she wanted to taste the sweat that shone on his throat and fragile clavicle; then he chose to undo the tails of her shirt, that she had tied up beneath her breasts; then, but then impatient they forgot about taking turns and quarreled silently, eagerly over each other, like pirates dividing treasure long sought, long imagined, long withheld.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“While the moon smoothly shifted the shadows from one side of Edgewood to the other, Daily Alice dreamed that she stood in a flower-starred field where on a hill there grew an oak tree and a thorn in deep embrace, their branches intertwined like fingers. Far down the hall, Sophie dreamed that there was a tiny door in her elbow, open a crack, through which the wind blew, blowing on her heart. Dr. Drinkwater dreamed he sat before his typewriter and wrote this: 'There is an aged, aged insect who lives in a hole in the ground. One June he puts on his summer straw, and takes his pipe and his staff and his lamp in half his hands, and follows the worm and the root to the stair that leads up to the door into blue summer.' This seemed immensely significant to him, but when he awoke he wouldn't be able to remember a word of it, try as he might. Mother beside him dreamed her husband wasn't in his study at all, but with her in the kitchen, where she drew tin cookie-sheets endlessly out of the oven; the baked things on them were brown and round, and when he asked her what they were, she said 'Years'.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“There was a game she had played with Sophie in the long hallways of Edgewood, where she and Sophie would stand as far apart as was possible to get and still see eachother. Then they would walk slowly and deliberately, looking always each at the other's face. They kept on, at the same pace, not laughing or trying not to, till their noses touched. It was like this with Smokey, though he had started from far off, too far to be seen, coming from the City – no farther, out there where she had never been, far away, walking towards her.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“...with Occam's old razor she could slit the throat of that idea.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“He learned, though slowly, what all great harrowed lovers learn: that love is what most surely compels love -- is perhaps, except for brute force, the only thing that does, though only (and this was the terrible gift he had been given) when the lover truly believes, as August could, that when his love is strong enough it must surely be returned -- and August's was.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big



“And yet, though we wake, though there is no end to waking and saying Oh I see, not ever [...], still within the dream in which we find ourselves every other dream is nested, every one we have awakened from.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Just as a lamp waved in darkness creates a figure of light in the air, which remains for as long as the lamp repeats its motion exactly, so the universe retains its shape by repetition: the universe is Time's body.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“... their lives were full of quiet drama, full of vague yet thrilling signs that life was not as the common run supposed it to be; they were among those... who watch life as though it were a great drab curtain which they are sure is always about to rise on some terrific and exquisite spectacle, and though it never did quite rise, they were patient, and noted excitedly every small movement of it as the actors took their places, strained to hear the unimaginable setting being shifted.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“They called him John Storm: John after his grandfather, but Storm after his father and his mother.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Christmas succeeds Christmas rather than the days it follows.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big



“Like a sun: but a small sun, which she had within her, warming her from the inside out. She was conscious of a feeling she had had before, a sense that she was looking at him, and at all of them, from some far way off, or from a great height. There had been a time when she seemed to herself to be snug, and small, within the large house of Smokey, a safe inhabitant, room to run in yet never leave his encompassment. Now she oftener felt otherwise: over time it was he who seemed to have become a mouse within the house of her.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“The Chinese, you know, believe that deep within each of us, no larger than the ball of your thumb, is the garden of the immortals, the great valley where we are all king forever.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Can you make a house of cards?" she asked.
"Yes," Violet said, and went on looking. This way Violet had of seizing first not the most obvious sense of what people said to her but some other, interior echo or reverse side of it was a thing that baffled and frustrated her husband, who sought in her sybilline responses to ordinary questions some truth he was sure Violet knew but couldn't quite enunciate. With his father-in-law's help, he had filled volumes with his searchings. Her children, though, hardly noticed it. Nora shifted from foot to foot for a moment waiting for the promised structure, and when it didn't appear forgot it. The clock on the mantelpiece chimed.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


“Almost as soon as it was lit it began to sound as though it were running down, but in fact it would continue to run down for a long time. He knew the feeling.”
― John Crowley, quote from Little, Big


About the author

John Crowley
Born place: in Presque Isle, Maine, The United States
Born date December 1, 1942
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