Jonas Jonasson · 396 pages
Rating: (152.6K votes)
“Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be.”
“People could behave how they liked, but Allan considered that in general it was quite unnecessary to be grumpy if you had the chance not to.”
“Never try to out-drink a Swede, unless you happen to be a Finn or at least a Russian.”
“I shall destroy capitalism! Do you hear! I shall destroy every single capitalist! And I shall start with you, you dog, if you don't help us with the bomb!'
Allan noted that the had managed to be both a rat and a dog in the course of a minute or so. And that Stalin was being rather inconsistent, because now he wanted to use Allan's services after all.
But Allan wasn't going to sit there and listen to this abuse any longer. He had come to Moscow to help them out, not to be shouted at. Stalin would have to manage on his own.
'I've been thinking,' said Allan.
'What,' said Stalin angrily.
'Why don't you shave off that moustache?'
With that the dinner was over, because the interpreter fainted.”
“Allan woke up and wondered whether it wouldn't soon be time to go to bed.”
“Revenge is like politics, one thing always leads to another until bad has become worse, and worse has become worst.”
“Allan thought it sounded unnecessary for the people in the seventeenth century to kill each other. If they had only been a little patient they would all have died in the end anyway. Julius said that you could say the same of all epochs.”
“...you'll see that things will turn out like they do, because that is what usually happens - almost always, in fact”
“There are only two things I can do better than most people. One of them is to make vodka from goats’ milk, and the other is to put together an atom bomb.”
“But as long as we think positively, I’m sure a solution will appear.”
“You should beware of priests, my son. And people who don’t drink vodka. Worst of all are priests who don’t drink vodka.”
“Imagine that, death was just like being asleep. Would he have time to think before it was all over? And would he have time to think that he had thought it? But wait, how much do you have to think before you have finished thinking?”
“Benny gave her an admiring look. He had never heard a woman swear so much in such a short time. He thought it sounded delightful.”
“Allan interrupted the two brothers by saying that he had been out and about in the world and if there was one thing he had learned it was that the very biggest and apparently most impossible conflicts on earth were based on the dialogue: “You are stupid, no, it’s you who are stupid, no, it’s you who are stupid.” The solution, said Allan, was often to down a bottle of vodka together and then look ahead.”
“Politics was often not only unnecessary, but sometimes also unnecessarily complicated.”
“Hi Allan, it's Harry'
'Truman, Allan. Harry S. Truman, the president, damn it!'
'How nice! That was a good meal we had Mr President, thank you. I hope you weren't required to fly the plane home?”
“Allan admitted that the difference between madness and genius was subtle, and that he couldn’t with certainty say which it was in this case, but that he had his suspicions.”
“But God answered with silence. He did that sometimes, and Father Ferguson always interpreted it to mean that he should think for himself. Admittedly, it didn't always work out well when the pastor thought for himself, but you couldn't just give up.”
“When life has gone into overtime it's easy to take liberties,”
“Has Stalin understood correctly?’ asked Stalin. ‘You were on Franco’s side, you have fought against Comrade Mao, you have… saved the life of the pig in London and you have put the deadliest weapon in the world in the hands of the arch-capitalists in the USA.
‘I might have known,’ Stalin mumbled and in his anger forgot to talk in the third person. ‘And now you are here to sell yourself to Soviet socialism? One hundred thousand dollars, is that the price for your soul? Or has the price gone up during the course of the evening?’
Allan no longer wanted to help. Of course, Yury was still a good man and he was the one who actually needed the help. But you couldn’t get away from the fact that the results of Yury’s work would end up in the hands of Comrade Stalin, and he was not exactly Allan’s idea of a real comrade. On the contrary, he seemed unstable, and it would probably be best for all concerned if he didn’t get the bomb to play with.
‘Not exactly,’ said Allan. ‘This was never about money…’
He didn’t get any further before Stalin exploded again.
‘Who do you think you are, you damned rat? Do you think that you, a representative of fascism, of horrid American capitalism, of everything on this Earth that Stalin despises, that you, you, can come to the Kremlin, to the Kremlin, and bargain with Stalin, and bargain with Stalin?’
‘Why do you say everything twice?’ Allan wondered, while Stalin went on:
‘The Soviet Union is prepared to go to war again, I’ll tell you that! There will be war, there will inevitably be war until American imperialism is wiped out.’
‘Is that what you think?’ asked Allan.
‘To do battle and to win, we don’t need your damned atom bomb! What we need is socialist souls and hearts! He who knows he can never be defeated, can never be defeated!’
‘Unless of course somebody drops an atom bomb on him,’ said Allan.
‘I shall destroy capitalism! Do you hear! I shall destroy every single capitalist! And I shall start with you, you dog, if you don’t help us with the bomb!’
Allan noted that he had managed to be both a rat and a dog in the course of a minute or so. And that Stalin was being rather inconsistent, because now he wanted to use Allan’s services after all.
But Allan wasn’t going to sit there and listen to this abuse any longer. He had come to Moscow to help them out, not to be shouted at. Stalin would have to manage on his own.
‘I’ve been thinking,’ said Allan.
‘What,’ said Stalin angrily.
‘Why don’t you shave off that moustache?’
With that the dinner was over, because the interpreter fainted”
“Allan said that they would all turn up soon. And then he ended with some encouraging words about how he thought that there wasn’t a single person in the world who had gone so far with such a limited intelligence as Amanda had done. And Amanda thought that was so beautifully said, that tears came to her eyes.”
“For Benny and The Beauty, the sun was always shining whatever the weather, and if they hadn't been on the run from the law, they would probably have gotten married right away. Once you've reached a certain age, it is easier to sense when everything feels exactly right.”
“And not only that, Mr Stalin. I have been in China for the purpose of making war against Mao Tse-tung, before I went to Iran and prevented an attempt to assassinate Churchill.’
‘Churchill? That fat pig!’ Stalin shouted.
Stalin recovered for a moment before downing a whole glass of vodka. Allan watched enviously. He too would like to have his glass filled, but didn’t think it was the right moment for such a request.”
“Allan looked at the bus and then at the suitcase, then again at the bus and then again at the suitcase. It has wheels, he said to himself. And there's a strap to pull it by too. And then Allan surprised himself by making what - you have to admit - was decision to say 'yes' to life.
“Bucket had started his criminal career in Braas, not far from when Allan and his new friends now found themselves. There he had gotten together with some like-minded peers and started the motorcycle club called The Violence. Bucket was the leader; he decided which newsstand was to be robbed of cigarettes next. He was the one who has chosen the name- The Violence, in English, not swedish. And he was the one who unfortunately asked his girlfriend Isabella to sew the name of the motorcycle club onto ten newly stolen leather jackets. Isabella had never really learned to spell properly at school, not in Swedish, and certainly not in English.
The result was that Isabella sewed The Violins on the jackets instead. As the rest of the club members had had similar academic success, nobody in the group noticed the mistake.
So everyone was very surprised when one day a letter arrived for The Violins in Braas from the people in charge of the concert hall in Vaxjo. The letter suggested that, since the club obviously concerned itself with classical music, they might like to put in am appearance at a concert with the city’s prestigious chamber orchestra, Musica Viate.
Bucket felt provoked; somebody was clearly making fun of him. One night he skipped the newsstand, and instead went into Vaxjo to throw a brick through the glass door of the concert hall. This was intended to teach the people responsible lesson in respect. It all went well, except that Bucket’s leather glove happened to follow the stone into the lobby. Since the alarm went off immediately, Bucket felt it would be unwise to try to retrieve the personal item in question.
Losing the glove was not good. Bucket had traveled to Vaxjo by motorbike and one hand was extremely cold all the way home to Braas that night. Even worse was the fact that Bucket’s luckless girlfriend had written Bucket’s name and adress inside the glove, in case he lost it."
For more quotes from the novel visit my blog: frommybooks.wordpress.com”
“Mensen mochten zich gedragen zoals ze wilden, maar hij vond dat het over het algemeen onnodig was om chagrijnig te zijn als je de mogelijkheid hebt om dat niet te zijn.”
“Allan had always reasoned about religion that if you couldn’t know for sure then there was no point in going around guessing.”
“Никога не се опитвай да надпиеш един швед, освен ако не си финландец или поне руснак.”
“It’s true," he smiled, "not just in love, Nell, but hopeless, there’s-no-helping-this-guy kind of in love with you.”
“What win I if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.
Who buys a minute's mirth to wail a week?
Or sells eternity to get a toy?”
“I forzati del portatile lo guardarono con indulgenza, mentre cercava con ansia febbrile. Il portapenne non c'era più. Si era certamente spezzato! Chinandosi per guardare sotto il tavolo, notò il rigonfiamento in una delle opere che trattavano di matematica e, aprendola, trovò il portapenne di Murano, infilato tra due pagine.”
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“I know how humans love. Their passion burns like a lump of sugar – quick and hot. And when the fire dies, they seek a new flame. They chase sparks instead of collecting the warmth of old embers.”
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