“The Devil may take the reckless, but the good will surely die of boredom. Boredom and frustration.”
“Someone told me much later that you always know the people who are going to make a difference in your life, from the very first time you set eyes on them, even if you do not like them at all. And I had noticed him, as he had me. God help us.”
“So if we could not have love, my husband and I, then at least I could have alchemy.”
“If you love a man for his honesty, you cannot become angry when he shows it.”
“It was so cold. In the monastery. Sometimes the wind came from the sea with ice in it... It could freeze the skin off your face. Once the snow was so deep we couldn't get out of the doors to the woodshed. A monk jumped from a window. He sank into a drift and took a long time to get up. That night, they made me sleep next to the stove. I was small, thin, like a piece of birch bark. But then the Stove went out.
Father Bernard took me into his cell... It was he who first gave me chalk and paper. He was so old his eyes his eyes looked as if he was crying. But he was never sad. In winter he had fewer blankets than the others. He said he didn't need them because God warmed him.
But even Father Bernard was cold that night. He laid me down on the bed next to him, wrapped me in an animal skin, then in his own arms. He told me stories about Jesus. How His love could wake the dead and how with Him in one's heart one could heat the world... When I woke it was light. The snow had stopped. I was warm. But he was cold. I gave him the skin but his body was stiff. I didn't know what to do. I got out a piece of paper from his chest under the bed and drew him, lying there. His face had a smile on it. I knew that God had been there when he died. That now He was in me, and because of Father Bernard I would be warm forever.”
“And, such was the sound that the chorus made together, that to have been a part of it at all was enough for me.”
“There is more glory in peace than in war,”
“Together he [Girolamo Savonarola] and his archenemy Lorenzo [de' Medici] would have been the stuff of gargoyles. One could almost imagine the diptych in which their profiles confronted each other, their noses as powerful as their personalities.”
“Someone told me much later that you always know the people who are going to make a difference in your life, from the very first time you set eyes on them, even if you do not like them at all.”
“Either you’re standing under your haloes, eyes up to heaven, or you’re munching apples in their faces and flashing your bush. I’m not even sure they know which one they prefer. The best you can do is choose when you change your costume”
“All I had to do was rise up on my tiptoes and our lips met. He tasted like mint gum and all my hopes and dreams. Well, not all of them, but a lot of them.”
“The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality.”
“No man can rob successfully over a period of years without pleasing the people he robs.”
“moaned his final breath into the imitation Oriental.”
“It was then that he started his novel The People Immortal, and when I read it later, many of its pages seemed to me very familiar. He found himself as a writer during the war. His pre-war books were nothing more than searching for his theme and language. He was a true internationalist and reproached me frequently for saying “Germans” instead of “Hitler’s men” when describing the atrocities of the occupiers.’ Ehrenburg was persuaded that it was Grossman’s all-embracing world view which made the xenophobic Stalin hate him.”
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