Angela Carter · 128 pages
Rating: (28.3K votes)
“She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening.”
“When I saw him look at me with lust, I dropped my eyes but, in glancing away from him, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. And I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me, my pale face, the way the muscles in my neck stuck out like thin wire. I saw how much that cruel necklace became me. And, for the first time in my innocent and confined life, I sensed in myself a potentiality for corruption that took my breath away.”
“Anticipation is the greater part of pleasure.”
“There is a striking resemblance between the act of love and the ministrations of a torturer.”
“His wedding gift, clasped round my throat. A choker of rubies, two inches wide, like an extraordinarily precious slit throat.”
“They will be like shadows, they will be like wraiths, gray members of a congregation of nightmare; hark! his long wavering howl . . . an aria of fear made audible.
The wolfsong is the sound of the rending you will suffer, in itself a murdering.”
“Love is desire sustained by unfulfilment.”
“For all cats have this particularity, each and every one, from the meanest alley sneaker to the proudest, whitest she that ever graced a pontiff's pillow — we have our smiles, as it were, painted on. Those small, cool, quite Mona Lisa smiles that smile we must, no matter whether it's been fun or it's been not. So all cats have a politician's air; we smile and smile and so they think we're villains”
“She stands and moves within the invisible pentacle of her own virginity. She is an unbroken egg: she is a sealed vessel; she has inside her a magic space the entrance to which is shut tight with a plug of membrane; she is a closed system; she does not know how to shiver.”
“The invisible is only another unexplored country, a brave new world.”
“Like the wild beasts, she lives without a future. She inhabits only the present tense, a fugue of the continuous, a world of sensual immediacy as without hope as it is without despair.”
“His touch both consoles and devastates me; I feel my heart pulse, then wither, naked as a stone on the roaring mattress while the lovely, moony night slides through the window to dapple the flanks of this innocent who makes cages to keep the sweet birds in. Eat me, drink me; thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden, I go back and back to him to have his fingers strip the tattered skin away and clothe me in his dress of water, this garment that drenches me, its slithering odour, its capacity for drowning.”
“I had the brief notion that his heart, pressed flat as a flower, crimson and thin as tissue paper, lay in this file. It was a very thin one.”
“Your thin white face, chérie; he said, as if he saw it for the first time. Your thin white face, with its promise of debauchery only a connoisseur could detect.”
“This lack of imagination gives his heroism to the hero.”
“ordered me a sky from a florist”
“Her beauty is a symptom of her disorder, of her soullessness.”
“And, ah! his castle. The faery solitude of the place, with its turrets of mistly blue, its courtyard, its spiked gate, his castle that lay on the very bosom of the sea with seabirds mewing about its attics, the casements opening onto the green and purple, evanescent departures of the ocean, cut off by the tide from land for half a day . . . that castle, at home neither on the land nor on the water, a mysterious, amphibious place, contravening the materiality of both earth and waves, with the melancholy of a mermaiden who perches on her rocks and waits, endlessly, for a lover who had drowned far away, long ago. That lovely, sad, sea-siren of a place.”
“We keep the wolves outside by living well.”
“There is a vast melancholy in the canticles of the wolves, melancholy infinite as the forest, endless as these long nights of winter and yet that ghastly sadness, that mourning for their own, irremediable appetites, can never move the heart for not one phrase in it hints at the possibility of redemption.”
“See! sweet and sound she sleeps in granny's bed, between the paws of the tender wolf.”
“I drew the curtains to conceal the sight of my father's farewell; my spite was sharp as broken glass.”
“Although her father had told her of the nature of the one who waited for her, she could not control an instinctual shudder of fear when she saw him, for a lion is a lion and a man is a man and, though lions are more beautiful by far than we are, yet they belong to a different order of beauty and, besides, they have no respect for us: why should they? Yet wild things have a far more rational fear of us than is ours of them, and some kind of sadness in his agate eyes, that looked almost blind, as if sick of sight, moved her heart.”
“Yet I had not bargained for this, the girl with tears hanging on her cheeks like stuck pearls, her cunt a split fig below the great globes of her buttocks on which the knotted tails of the cat were about to descend, while a man in a black mask fingered with his free hand his prick, that curved upwards like a scimitar he held. The picture had a caption 'Reproof of curiosity.”
“On her eighteenth birthday, my mother had disposed of a man-eating tiger that had ravaged the villages in the hills north of Hanoi. Now, without a moment's hesitation, she raised my father's gun, took aim and put a single, irreproachable bullet through my husband's head.”
“He strips me to my last nakedness, that underskin of mauve, pearlized satin, like a skinned rabbit; then dresses me again in an embrace so lucid and encompassing it might be made of water. And shakes over me dead leaves as if into the stream I have become.
Sometimes the birds, at random, all singing, strike a chord.
His skin covers me entirely; we are like two halves of a seed, enclosed in the same integument. I should like to grow enormously small, so that you could swallow me, like those queens in fairy tales who conceive when they swallow a grain of corn or a sesame seed. Then I could lodge inside your body and you would bear me.”
“Time was his servant, too; it would trap me, here, in a night that would last until he came back to me, like a black sun on a hopeless morning.”
“The end of exile is the end of being.”
“How pleased I was to see I strick the Beast to the heart.”
“He has the special quality of virginity, most and least ambiguous of states: ignorance, yet at the same time, power in potentia, and, furthermore, unknowingness, which is not the same as ignorance.”
“The best armour of old age is a well spent life perfecting it.”
“So he’s gonna want to get out of Dodge as fast as he can.” Sure enough, the caravan was racing down the”
“He’s funny and attractive. That doesn’t mean I want to sleep with him.” “That always means you want to sleep with someone.” “Thanks a lot,” I say. “Was that a thinly-veiled slut accusation?” “That’s funny, it wasn’t supposed to be thinly-veiled.”
“Whoever has hatred toward someone is that hatred.”
“No. He won't save my brother. He doesn't love me no matter what he believes. He loves that I need him. But I don't. Not really. Because despite what I thought, what I counted on, he has never been there for me. There is no safety with him. I've always been alone. I just didn't know how isolated I was until now.”
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