29+ quotes from Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

Quotes from Sweet Tooth

Ian McEwan ·  320 pages

Rating: (41.8K votes)


“I turned the pages so fast. And I suppose I was, in my mindless way, looking for a something, version of myself, a heroine I could slip inside as one might a pair of favourite shoes.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Love doesn't grow at a steady rate, but advances in surges, bolts, wild leaps, and this was one of those.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“I was the basest of readers. All I wanted was my own world, and myself in it, given back to me in artful shapes and accessible form.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“There was, in my view, an unwritten contract with the reader that the writer must honour. No single element of an imagined world or any of its characters should be allowed to dissolve on an authorial whim. The invented had to be as solid and as self-consistent as the actual. This was a contract founded on mutual trust.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“My needs were simple I didn't bother much with themes or felicitous phrases and skipped fine descriptions of weather, landscapes and interiors. I wanted characters I could believe in, and I wanted to be made curious about what was to happen to them. Generally, I preferred people to be falling in and out of love, but I didn't mind so much if they tried their hand at something else. It was vulgar to want it, but I liked someone to say 'Marry me' by the end.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Oblivion seemed the only reasonable option.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Novels without female characters were a lifeless desert.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Writers are said to have superstitions and little rituals. Readers have them too.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“And feeling clever, I've always thought, is just a sigh away from being cheerful.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Four or five years - nothing at all. But no one over thirty could understand this peculiarly weighted and condensed time, from late teens to early twenties, a stretch of life that needed a name, from school leaver to salaried professional, with a university and affairs and death and choices in between. I had forgotten how recent my childhood was, how long and inescapable it once seemed. How grown up and how unchanged I was.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“My needs were simple. I didn't bother much with themes or felicitous phrases and skipped fine descriptions of weather, landscapes and interiors. I wanted characters I could believe in and I wanted to be made curious about what was to happen to them.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“What was it with men, that they found elementary logic so difficult?”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Non badavo granché a tematiche o felicità di stile, e saltavo le descrizioni minute di tempo atmosferico, paesaggi e interni. Volevo personaggi in cui potessi credere, e volevo provare curiosità per ciò che avrebbero vissuto. […] Romanzi a sensazione, alta letteratura e tutto ciò che stava nel mezzo: a ognuno riservavo lo stesso rude trattamento.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Daylight seemed then to be the physical manifestation of common sense.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“The constrained lives of his characters made me wonder how my own existence might appear in his hands.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“I was irritated by the way he conflated his own shifting needs with an impersonal destiny. I want it, therefore...it's in the stars!”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“I said I didn’t like tricks, I liked life as I knew it recreated on the page. He said it wasn’t possible to recreate life on the page without tricks.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Everyone knew as much as they needed to know to be happy.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Here were the luxury and priviledge of the well-fed man scoffing at all hopes and progress for the rest. [He] owed nothing to a world that nurtured him kindly, liberally educated him for free, sent him to no wars, brought him to manhood without scary rituals or famine or fear of vengeful gods, embraced him with a handsome pension in his twenties and placed no limits on his freedom of expression. This was an easy nihilism that never doubted that all we had made was rotten, never thought to pose alternatives, never derived hope from friendship, love, free markets, industry, technology, trade, and all the arts and sciences.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“Writers owed their readers a duty of care, of mercy.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“By degrees, he joins that sorry legion of passive men who abandon their children in order to placate their second wives.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“What I took to be the norm -- taut, smooth, supple -- was the transient special case of youth. To me, the old were a separate species, like sparrows or foxes.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“You pull a book from the shelf and there was an invention... Almost like cooking, I thought sleepily. Instead of heat transforming the ingredients, there's pure invention, the spark, the hidden element. What resulted was more than the sum of parts... At one level it was obvious enough how these separarte parts were tipped in and deployed. The mystery was in how they were blended into somthing cohesive and plausible, how the ingredients were cooked into something so delicious. As my thought scattered and I drifted toward the borders of oblivion, I thought I almost understood how it was done.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“That evening he plays with the children, cleans the hamster's cage with them, gets them into their pyjamas, and reads to them three times over, once together, then to Jake on his own, then to Naomi. It is at times like these that his life makes sense. How soothing it is, the scent of clean bedlinen and minty toothpaste breath, and his children's eagerness to hear the adventures of imaginary beings, and how touching, to watch the children's eyes grow heavy as they struggle to hang on to the priceless last minutes of their day, and finally fail.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“I read anything I saw lying around. Pulp fiction, great literature and everything in between - I gave them all the same rough treatment.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“He found and praised Muriel Spark's The Driver's Seat. I said I found it too schematic and preferred The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. He nodded, but not in agreement, it seemed, more like a therapist who now understood my problem.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“While my friends struggled and calculated, I reached a solution by a set of floating steps that were partly visual, partly just a feeling for what was right. It was hard to explain how I knew what I knew.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“He would change my life and behave with selfless cruelty as he prepared to set out on a journey with no hope of return.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


“I craved a form of naive realism. I paid special attention, I craned my readerly neck whenever a London street I knew was mentioned, or a style of frock, a real public person, even a make of car. Then, I thought, I had a measure, I could guage the quality of the writing by its accuracy, by the extent to which it aligned with my own impressions, or improved upon them. I was fortunate that most English writing of the time was in the form of undemanding social documentary. I wasn't impressed by those writers (they were spread between South and North America) who infiltrated their own pages as part of the cast, determined to remind poor reader that all the characters and even they themselves were pure inventions and the there was a difference between fiction and life. Or, to the contrary, to insist that life was a fiction anyway. Only writers, I thought, were ever in danger of confusing the two.”
― Ian McEwan, quote from Sweet Tooth


About the author

Ian McEwan
Born place: in Aldershot, England, The United Kingdom
Born date June 21, 1948
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