Quotes from The Liar

Stephen Fry ·  390 pages

Rating: (10.3K votes)

“My first meeting with you only confirmed what I first suspected. You are a fraud, a charlatan and a shyster. My favourite kind of person, in fact.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“I think Eros should be dirty. In Greek legend, as I'm sure you are aware, he fell in love with the minor deity Psyche. It was the Greek way of saying that, in spite of what it may believe, Love pursues the Soul, not the body; the Erotic desires the Psychic. If Love was clean and wholesome he wouldn't lust after Psyche.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“It was as if he grew his hair long and smoked cigarettes because he liked to, not because he liked being seen to. This was dangerously subversive.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“Not one word of the following is true”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“Cheat? Good heavens, this is an amateur cricket match amongst leading prep schools, I'm an Englishman and a schoolmaster supposedly setting an example to his young charges. We are playing the most artistic and beautiful game ever devised. Of course I'll cunting well cheat. Now, give me my robe and put on my crown. I have immortal longings in me.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“I am magnificently prepared for the long littleness of life. There is diddley-squat for me to look forward to. Zilch, zero, zip-all, sweet lipperty-pipperty nothing. The only thought that will give me the energy to carry on is that someone has a life which would be diminished by my departure from it.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“Books are not holy relics,' Trefusis had said. 'Words may be my religion, but when it comes to worship, I am very low church. The temples and the graven images are of no interest to me. The superstitious mammetry of a bourgeois obsession for books is severely annoying. Think how many children are put off reading by prissy little people ticking them off whenever they turn a page carelessly. The world is so fond of saying that book s should be "treated with respect". But when are we told that _words_ should be treated with respect? From our earliest years we are taught to revere only the outward and visible. Ghastly literary types maundering on about books as "objects"...”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“Little girls grow up to be women, little boys grow up to be little boys.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“I shall sustain a massive erection, that’s what, and I shan’t be answerable for the consequences. Some kind of ejaculation is almost bound to ensue and if either of you were to become pregnant I should never forgive myself.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“But an Adrian also knew that an Adrian's lies were real: they were lived and felt and acted out as thoroughly as another man's truths - if other men had truths - and he believed it possible that this last lie might see him through to the grave.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“Lies, fictions and untrue suppositions can create new human truths which build technology, art, language, everything that is distinctly of Man. The word "stone" for instance is not a stone, it is an oral pattern of vocal, dental and labial sounds or a scriptive arrangement of ink on a white surface, but man pretends that it is actually the thing it refers to. Every time he wishes to tell another man about a stone he can use the word instead of the thing itself. The word bodies forth the object in the mind of the listener and both speaker and listener are able to imagine a stone without seeing one. All the qualities of stone can be metaphorically and metonymically expressed. "I was stoned, stony broke, stone blind, stone cold sober, stonily silent," oh, whatever occurs. More than that, a man can look at a stone and call it a weapon, a paperweight, a doorstep, a jewel, an idol. He can give it function, he can possess it.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“That's alright," said Hugo. "I've got some wine"

Which was about all he seemed to have. He poured out two mugfuls.

"Very nice," said Adrian, sipping appreciatively. "I wonder how they got the cat to sit on the bottle."

"It's cheap, that's the main thing.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“He had quickly happened upon the truth which many lonely contemporaries would never discover, the truth that everybody, simply everybody, was panting for it and could, with patience, be shown that they were panting for it. So Adrian grabbed what was to hand and had the time of his life genitally - focusing exclusively on his own gender of course, for this was 1973 and girls had not yet been invented.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“He was always doing that these days. Everything he saw became a symbol of his own existence, from a rabbit caught in headlights to raindrops racing down a window-pane. Perhaps it was a sign that he was going to become a poet or a philosopher: the kind of person who, when he stood on the sea-shore, didn't see waves breaking on a beach, but saw the surge of human will or the rhythms of copulation, who didn't hear the sound of the tide but heard the eroding roar of time and the last moaning sigh of humanity fizzing into nothingness. But perhaps it was a sign, he also thought, that he was turning into a pretentious wanker.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“There can't be that many individual souls. Not souls like mine. There isn't room. There can't be.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“All gone. All anger quelled, all desire drained, all thirst slaked, all madness past.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“Either a municipal bog is a private place or it isn't. If it is a private place in which to shit, how is it not a private place in which to fellate?”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“Once, in his first term, Cartwright had been bold enough to ask him why he was clever, what exercises he did to keep his brain fit. Healey had laughed.

"It's memory, Cartwright, old dear. Memory, the mother of the Muses... at least that's what thingummy said."


"You know, what's his name, Greek poet chap. Wrote the Theogony... what was he called? Begins with an 'H'."


"No, dear. Not Homer, the other one. No, it's gone. Anyway. Memory, that's the key.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“I think it was Harry Walpole who remarked, "In this life one should try everything once except incest and country dancing.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“It is perfectly possible to live a life from cradle to grave that is entirely dishonest.One might never reveal one's true identity, the yearnings and cravings of one's innermost self, even to the most intimate circle of family and friends; never really speak the truth to anyone. Priests and psychotherapists may believe that the confessional-box or the analysis session reveals truths, but you know and I know and every human being knows that we lie all the time to all the world. Lying is as much a part of us as wearing clothes. Indeed Man's first act in Eden was to give names to everything on earth, our first act of possession and falsehood was to take away a stone's right to be a stone by imprisoning it with the name "stone". There are in reality, as Fenellosa said, no nouns in the universe. Man's next great act was to cover himself up. We have been doing so ever since. We feel that our true identities shame us. Lying is a deep part of us. TO take it away is to make us something less than, not more than, human.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“We have also an edition of The Trial, by the notorious Jew, Kafka. Berlin would appreciate it, I am thinking, if this too was added to the bonfire. Also the works of that decadent lesbian Bolshevik, Jane Austen.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“As Adrian hurried past the Senate House he noticed two old men standing outside Bowes and Bowes. He put an extra spring in his step, a thing he often did when walking near elderly. He imagined old people would look at his athletic bounce with a misty longing for their own youth. Not that he was trying to show off or rub salt into the wounds of the infirm, he really believed he was offering a service, an opportunity for nostalgia, like whistling the theme tune from Happidrome or spinning a Diablo.
He skipped past them with carefree ease, missed his footing and fell to the ground with a thump. One of the old men helped him up.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“The English language is an arsenal of weapons; if you are going to brandish them without checking to see whether or no they are loaded you must expect to have them explode in your face from time to time. "Poppycock" means "soft shit" - from the Dutch, I need scarcely remind you, pappe kak.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“Other people's tears were more than Adrian could cope with. Did you put an arm round them? Did you pretend not to notice?”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“The object of love should feel honoured or flattered, responsible in some way. Instead he felt insulted, degraded and revolted. More than that, he felt put upon.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“He knew he could never jingle change in his pocket or park his car like a confident adult, he was the Adrian he had always been, casting a guilty look over a furtive shoulder, living in eternal dread of a grown-up striding forward to clip his ear.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“I've always believed it right for young people to drink. Not to be alcoholic of course, that is a passive state of being, not a positive action. But it is good to drink to excess.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“He's your enemy, Donald!'
'He most certainly is not,' said Trefusis. 'Not unless I say so. He may dearly want to be my enemy, he may beg on bended knee for open hostility of the most violent kind, but it takes two to tangle. I choose my own enemies.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“He was one of a long line of mimsy and embittered middle-class sensitives who disguised their feeble and decadent lust as something spiritual and Socratic.

And why not? If it meant he had to end his days on some Mediterranean island writing lyric prose for Faber and Faber and literary criticism for the New Statesman, running through successions of houseboys and 'secretaries', getting sloshed on Fernet Branca and having to pay off the Chief of Police every six months, then so be it. Better than driving to the office in the rain.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

“He knew he could never jingle change in his pocket or park his car like a confident adult, he was the Adrian he had always been, casting a guilty look over a furtive shoulder, living in eternal dread of a grown-up striding forward to clip his ear.

But there again, when he sipped at the whiskey his eyes failed to water and his throat forgot to burn. The body shamelessly welcomed what once it would have rejected. At breakfast he demanded not Ricicles and chocolate spread, but coffee and unbuttered toast. And if the coffee was sugared he leapt from it like a colt from an electric fence. He ate the crust and left the filling, guzzled the olives and spurned the cherries. Yet inside he remained the same Adrian who fought down the urge to stand and shout 'Bullocks' during church services, smelt his own farts and wasted hours skimming through National Geographic on the off-chance of seeing a few naked bodies.”
― Stephen Fry, quote from The Liar

About the author

Stephen Fry
Born place: in London, England, The United Kingdom
Born date August 24, 1957
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