“He waved to the city and said good-bye.
The city responded by carrying on the way it always did, traffic moving forward uninterrupted, without slowing, as if it were trying to demonstrate its permanence and show him it would still be there if he ever wanted to return. That promise was the best and only thing he could ask of it.”
“Giuseppe would miss them as well, but in a different way than he would miss the city. A city would stay the same. The same buildings. The same streets. Not forever, but for a great long while. But Frederick and Hannah would never again be the people they were right now, standing on the dock, wishing him farewell. Tomorrow they would wake up and be a little bit different and a little bit different the day after that, and in no time they might become people he did not recognize. Giuseppe knew it because they were already different from when he had first met them. He knew it because he was different from when they had first met him.”
“Clockwork could not run counter to its nature. The seconds, minutes, and hours moved only forward. Patient, precise, and unstoppable. Memory was an indulgence, an illusion that broke like a wave upon the juggernaut of time. The past remained the past.”
“In the early morning hours, Hannah read at the table by the dim light of dawn. She leaned in close to the pages, chin resting on her folded arms, eyes racing over the words, like chasing butterflies over the hills, to catch as many as she could before going to work. She wondered at how such tales of magic could be contained by mere paper and ink for her to read again and again.”
“I hate them!' she cried. 'It's not fair!'
'No, it isn't,' Frederick said gently.
'I can't do it all!'
'No. You can't.' After a long moment he said, 'But you can do what you can.'
'And what if that isn't enough?'
Frederick held her shoulders and took a step back. He looked in her eyes. 'Enough for what?'
'For my family.'
'What more could they ask for than what you've given?”
“Sharing his memories felt like handing over a sharp knife. A knife that others might handle carelessly. A knife that could be used to hurt him.”
“The hours trampled her on their way through the day.”
“It was his fault too,” Fredrick said. “He never really asked her why. It was like he didn’t want to know.”
“You see, in all his travels through the fallen ruins of civilizations, he picked up this notion that mankind is insignificant. That nothing we create will last. That we will all turn to dust. And it is only in nature that we find constancy and immortality.”
“Giuseppe was not tied down, not by rope, not by fear. He stood up, and spoke with a loud voice in the language of his parents, his brother and sister. "You kidnap children because they're the only ones you can bully. You tie up an old reverend and think you're getting back at a city that hates you. You try and make everyone afraid of you because you think that makes you powerful." Giuseppe looked him up and down. "I say you're weak. I say you're a coward.”
“Stories are able to help us to become more whole, to become Named. And Naming is one of the impulses behind all art; to give a name to the cosmos, we see despite all the chaos.”
“Today had been a shit day, and it seemed I wasn’t about to climb down off the crap cart any time soon.”
“The only thing shittier than the way men treated a pretty woman was the way women did.”
“If we could be satisfied with anything, we should have been satisfied long ago.”
“The country’s oligarchs themselves had divided loyalties and ambitions and thus were never entirely subservient. Putin had tamed Russia’s oligarchs, while in Ukraine they still threw their support—and cash—behind different political factions, depending on their financial interests.”
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