“A line came into my mind, something that Hannah Arendt once said about the poet Auden: that life had manifested the heart's invisible furies on his face.”
“If there is one thing I've learned in more than seven decades of life, it's that the world is a completely fucked-up place. You never know what's around the corner and it's often something unpleasant.”
“I've always believed that if women could only collectively harness the power that they have then they'd rule the world.”
“Maybe there were no villains in my mother’s story at all. Just men and women, trying to do their best by each other. And failing.”
“I remember a friend of mine once telling me that we hate what we fear in ourselves,”
“It's as if she understood completely the condition of loneliness and how it undermines us all, forcing us to make choices that we know are wrong for us.”
“It was a difficult time to be Irish, a difficult time to be twenty-one years of age and a difficult time to be a man who was attracted to other men. To be all three simultaneously required a level of subterfuge and guile that felt contrary to my nature.”
“Every man is afraid of women as far as I can see,” said Julian, displaying an understanding of the universe far beyond his years. “That’s true,” she said. “But only because most men are not as smart as women and yet they continue to hold all the power. They fear a change of the world order.”
“You look like a Greek God sent down by the immortal Zeus from Mount Olympus to taunt the rest of us inferior beings with your astonishing beauty, I said, which somehow in translation came out as "you look fine, why?”
“The women are always the whores; the priests are always the good men who were led astray.”
“What you know about women,” replied Maude, “could be written in large font on the back of a postage stamp and there’d still be room for the Lord’s Prayer.”
“I was deluding myself, for love was one thing but desire was something else entirely.”
“I had never considered myself to be a dishonest person, hating the idea that I was capable of such mendacity and deceit, but the more I examined the architecture of my life, the more I realized how fraudulent were its foundations. The belief that I would spend the rest of my time on earth lying to people weighed heavily on me and at such times I gave serious consideration to taking my own life.”
“I may not have known much about pregnancies but I knew that you couldn’t have a son or a daughter without actually doing it first. The priests at school had once muttered something to the effect that when a mummy and a daddy loved each other very much, they lay close together and the Holy Spirit descended upon them to create the miracle of new life. (Charles, in his one attempt at a man-to-man talk with me, had put it rather differently. ‘Get her kit off,’ he said. ‘Play with her tits a bit, because the ladies love that. Then just stick your cock in her pussy and ram it in and out a bit. Don’t hang around too long in there – it’s not a bloody train station. Just do your business and get on with your day.’ It’s no wonder he managed to secure so many wives, the old romantic.) I”
“Did I ever tell you that they nearly cut my dick off?’ ‘No,’ I said, uncertain whether this was something that had really happened or something he was misremembering in his delirium. ‘It’s true,’ he said. ‘The night before the Gardaí found me. They said that I had a choice. That they’d either pop one of my eyes out or cut my dick off. They told me I could choose which.’ ‘Jesus,’ I said. ‘I mean I would have said my eye, of course. Probably the one on the other side to the missing ear, just to balance things out. But can you imagine if they had cut my dick off? I wouldn’t be lying here right now, would I? None of this would have happened.’ ‘That’s one way of looking at it,’ I said. ‘They would have saved my life.’ ‘Maybe.’ ‘No, you’re right. I’d be dead already because I’d probably have killed myself if they’d cut my dick off. There’s no way I would have gone through my life dickless. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how one small part of our anatomy completely controls our lives?”
“life had manifested the heart’s invisible furies on his face.”
“Do you enjoy being a writer, Mrs Avery?” asked Julian.
“No, of course not, she said. “It’s a hideous profession. Entered into by narcissists who think their pathetic little imaginations will be of interest to people they’ve never met.”
“I don’t drink coffee,” she said, taking a sip from her tea. “Coffee is for Americans and Protestants. Irish people should drink tea. That’s how we were brought up after all. Give me a nice cup of Lyons and I’m content.” “I don’t mind the occasional cup of Barry’s myself.” “No, that’s from Cork.”
“Actually, they were very strange parents,' I told her. 'Neither of them were what you might call conventional people. And they had an extremely peculiar approach to parenting. Sometimes I felt as if I were little more than a tenant in their house, as if they weren't entirely sure what I was doing there. But they never mistreated me, nor did they ever do anything to hurt me. And perhaps they loved me in their own way. The concept itself might have been slightly alien to them.'
'And did you love them?'
'Yes, I did,' I said without hesitation. 'I loved them both very much. Despite everything. But then children usually do. They look for safety and security, and one way or another Charles and Maude provided that.' (p. 556)”
“Cyril about Charles Avery:
'Charles was a banker. He was quite rich but he was always cheating on his taxes. He went to prison a few times for it. And when he was younger he always had a string of women on the go. But he was good fun. He was always telling me I wasn't a real Avery, though. I think that I could have done without that.'
'That sounds quite mean on his part.'
'I honestly don't think that he was trying to be cruel. It was more a matter of fact. Anyway, he's dead now. They both are. And I was with him when he went. I miss him still.' (p. 557)”
“Catherine on her relationship with Kenneth (and a great quote in the wake of International Women's Week - and remember this is written by a male author even if it's put in the mouth of a woman):
'And what did I do, only slip my hand inside his own and say that maybe he should hold my hand instead for a while, and I can see the look on his face even to this day. The shock and the desire. Oh, I loved the power I had over him! The power I could sense in myself! You won't understand this but it's something that every girl realizes at some point in her life, usually when she's around fiteen or sixteen. Maybe it's even younger now. That she has more power than every man in the room combined, because men are weak and governed by their desires and their desperate need for women but women are strong. I've always believed that if women could only collectively harness the power that they have then they'd rule the world. But they don't. I don't know why. And for all their weakness and stupidity, men are smart enough to know that being in charge counts for a lot. They have that over us at least.' (p. 561-562)”
“line came into my mind, something that Hannah Arendt had once said about the poet Auden: that life had manifested the heart’s invisible furies on his face.”
“You were never a real Avery,” he hissed. “You know that, don’t you?”
“I do,” I said.
“But Christ on a bike, you came close. You came damned close.”
“What you know about women,” replied Maude, “could be written in large font on the back of a postage stamp and there’d still be room for the Lord’s Prayer. For all your”
“And what did I do, only slip my hand inside his own and say that maybe he should hold my hand instead for a while, and I can see the look on his face even to this day. The shock and the desire. Oh, I loved the power I had over him! The power I could sense in myself! You won't understand this but it's something that every girl realizes at some point in her life, usually when she's around fiteen or sixteen. Maybe it's even younger now. That she has more power than every man in the room combined, because men are weak and governed by their desires and their desperate need for women but women are strong. I've always believed that if women could only collectively harness the power that they have then they'd rule the world. But they don't. I don't know why. And for all their weakness and stupidity, men are smart enough to know that being in charge counts for a lot. They have that over us at least.' (p. 561-562)”
“We’re none of us normal. Not in this fucking country.”
“He tells a story, and that's what I like. Does this fella tell a story? He doesn't spend twenty pages describing the colour of the sky?'
'He hasn't so far.'
'Good. Jeffrey Archer never talks about the colour of the sky and I like that in a writer. I'd say Jeffrey Archer has never even looked up at the sky his entire life.'
'Especially now that he's in prison,' I suggested.”
“Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.”
“Please don't embarrass yourself by offering an opinion.”
“overgrown fields, obviously abandoned. We must be getting close to the next village, which was just as well. The sun was approaching the horizon, and the constant battle with the wind was exhausting for us as well as the horses. Fierce”
“you rise at dawn in May you can savour the world before the pandemonium din of the Industrial Revolution and 24/7 shopping.”
“A measure of the strength of a body's gravity is the speed with which a projectile must be fired to escape its grasp. It takes 11.2 kilometers per second to escape from the Earth. This speed is tiny compared with that of light, 300,000 kilometers per second, but it challenges rocket engineers constrained to use chemical fuel, which converts only a billionth of its so-called mass 'rest-mass energy' (Einstein's mc^2) into effective power. The escape velocity from the sun's surface is 600 kilometers per second-still only one fifth of one percent of the speed of light.”
“Nietzsche tells us: be strong. What does not kill me makes me stronger.”
“You can never see anything clearly when you're running.”
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