Quotes from Love in the Ruins

Walker Percy ·  416 pages

Rating: (2.9K votes)


“Why did God make women so beautiful and man with such a loving heart?”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“Jews wait for the Lord, Protestants sing hymns to him, Catholics say mass and eat him.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“Lord, grant that my work increase knowledge and help other men. Failing that, Lord, grant that it will not lead to man’s destruction. Failing that, Lord, grant that my article in Brain be published before the destruction takes place.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“What needs to be discharged is the intolerable tenderness of the past, the past gone and grieved over and never made sense of. Music ransoms us from the past, declares an amnesty, brackets and sets aside the old puzzles. Sing a new song. Start a new life, get a girl, look into her shadowy eyes, smile.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“For the world is broken, sundered, busted down the middle, self ripped from self and man pasted back together as mythical monster, half angel, half beast, but no man...Some day a man will walk into my office as a ghost or beast or ghost-beast and walk out as a man, which is to say sovereign wanderer, lordly exile, worker and waiter and watcher.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins



“Comes again the longing, the desire that has no name. Is it for Mrs. Prouty, for a drink, for both: for a party, for youth, for the good times, for dear good drinking and fighting comrades, for football-game girls in the fall with faces like flowers? Comes the longing and it has to do with being fifteen and fifty and with the winter sun striking down into a brick-yard and on clapboard walls rounded off with old hard blistered paint and across a doorsill onto linoleum. Desire has a smell: of cold linoleum and gas heat and the sour piebald bark of crepe myrtle. A good-humored thirty-five-year-old lady takes the air in a back lot in a small town.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“Suppose you ask God for a miracle and God says yes, very well. How do you live the rest of your life?”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“What does a man live for but to have a girl, use his mind, practice his trade, drink a drink, read a book, and watch the martins wing it for the Amazon and the three-fingered sassafras turn red in October?
Art Immelmann is right. Man is not made for suffering, night sweats, and morning terrors.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“Nowadays when a good-looking woman flirts with me, however idly, I guffaw like some ruddy English lord, haw haw, har har, harr harr.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“What she didn't understand, she being spiritual and seeing religion as spirit, was that it took religion to save me from the spirit world, from orbiting the earth like Lucifer and the angels, that it took nothing less than touching the thread off the misty interstates and eating Christ himself to make me mortal man again and let me inhabit my own flesh and love her in the morning.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins



“I believe in God and the whole business but I love women best, music and science next, whiskey next, God fourth, and my fellowman hardly at all.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“He registered a dizzy 7.6 mmv over Brodmann 32, the area of abstractive activity. Since that time I have learned that a reading over 6 generally means that a person has so abstracted himself from himself and from the world around him, seeing things as theories and himself as a shadow, that he cannot, so to speak, reenter the lovely ordinary world. Such a person, and there are millions, is destined to haunt the human condition like the Flying Dutchman.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“God, if you recall, did not warn his people against dirty books. He warned them against high places.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“Where did the terror come from? Not from the violence; violence gives release from terror. Not from Leroy’s wrongness, for if he were altogether wrong, an evil man, the matter would be simple and no cause for terror. No, it came from Leroy’s goodness, that he is a decent, sweet-natured man who would help you if you needed help, go out of his way and bind up a stranger’s wounds. No, the terror comes from the goodness and what lies beneath, some fault in the soul’s terrain so deep that all is well on top, evil grins like good, but something shears and tears deep down and the very ground stirs beneath one’s feet.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“Our Catholic church here split into three pieces: (1) the American Catholic Church whose new Rome is Cicero, Illinois; (2) the Dutch schismatics who believe in relevance but not God; (3) the Roman Catholic remnant, a tiny scattered flock with no place to go. The American Catholic Church, which emphasizes property rights and the integrity of neighborhoods, retained the Latin mass and plays The Star-Spangled Banner at the elevation.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins



“The baby, as I had reason from experience to expect and had in fact prepared my bag for, suffers from dehydration. He’s dried up like a prune. The treatment is simple and the results spectacular. Slip a needle in his scalp vein and hang a bottle of glucose”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“At this moment the President is beginning to speak in New Orleans and the Vice-President is mounting the platform at NASA a few miles away. Both are making a plea for unity. The President, who is an integrationist Mormon married to a liberated Catholic, will appeal to Leftists to respect law and order. The Vice-President, a Southern Baptist Knothead married to a conservative Unitarian, is asking Knotheads for tolerance and understanding, etcetera. The poor U.S.A.! Even”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“A note for physicians: if you listen carefully to what patients say, they will often tell you not only what is wrong with them but also what is wrong with you.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“Anybody who monkeys around with gin and egg white deserves what he gets.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins


“My laps-meter, the first caliper of the soul and the first hope of bridging the dread chasm that has rent the soul of Western man ever since the famous philosopher Descartes ripped body loose from mind and turned the very soul into a ghost that haunts its own house.”
― Walker Percy, quote from Love in the Ruins



About the author

Walker Percy
Born place: in Birmingham, Alabama, The United States
Born date May 28, 1916
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