Quotes from The Dumb House

John Burnside ·  204 pages

Rating: (1.5K votes)

“No one could say it was my choice to kill the twins, any more than it was my decision to bring them into the world.”
― John Burnside, quote from The Dumb House

“The trick and the beauty of language is that it seems to order the whole universe, misleading us into believing that we live in sight of a rational space, a possible harmony.”
― John Burnside, quote from The Dumb House

“It's laughable, looking back, to see the processes I went through, pretending to make a reasoned decision. No choice is ever made on the basis of logic; the logic is fabricated around the impulse, the initial desire which is innate and incontrovertible. All the time, I knew where I was going, the elements of my fulfillment or ruin were always present; I only had to work my way into that seam of desire and find the hidden vein of dross or gold. It's not a question of predestination, it's just that free will and destiny are illusions, false opposites, consolations. In the end, they are one and the same: a single process. You choose what you choose and it could not have been otherwise: the choice is destiny. It was there all along, but any alternative you might have considered is an absurd diversion, because it is in your nature to make one choice rather than another. That is identity. To speak of freedom or destiny is absurd because it suggests there is something outside yourself, directing your life, where really it is of the essence: identity, the craftwork of the soul.”
― John Burnside, quote from The Dumb House

“If the components of the body were organs and veins and cells, then the components of thought and language were words and grammar.”
― John Burnside, quote from The Dumb House

“I have always been suspicious of the phrase, the glow of pregnancy, and my suspicions were only confirmed by Lillian's appearance. Instead of a glow, her whole body seemed to become more and more dull, sallow and sickly sweet and vague, like a candle burning out or a line of smudged writing.”
― John Burnside, quote from The Dumb House

“Sometimes, coming home in the early morning like this, I'd imagine things had altered while I was absent: a knife on the bread board that I didn't remember leaving out, a book face down on the table, a cup brimming with tea and dishwater in the sink. The evidence I wanted didn't need to be too elaborate or detailed. I could have constructed an entire afterlife from a half-moon of lemon rind or a small blister of jam on the tablecloth.”
― John Burnside, quote from The Dumb House

About the author

John Burnside
Born place: in Glasgow, Scotland, The United Kingdom
Born date January 1, 1955
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