Quotes from The Reapers are the Angels

Alden Bell ·  225 pages

Rating: (10.1K votes)


“Truth be told, the inward gaze is something she's not too fond of. But there are secrets that lurk in the mind, and she doesn't want any of them sneaking up on her. Sometimes it pays to take a deep look inside even if you get queasy gazing into those dark corners.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“God is a slick god. Temple Knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“...a noisy parade of memories that frustrate her because of the way they play themselves out. These memories-it feels like she's back there in the moment, like she has the moment to do over and make different choices than she made. But she can't, because they're just memories and they're set down permanent as if they were chiseled in marble, and so she just has to watch herself do the same things over and over and it's a condemnation if it's anything.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“You somehow make it outta here and track me down, you best come with a furious rage--because I got no use for your sympathy.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“Beyond the pursuit of meaning and beyond good and evil too, she says. See, it’s a daily chore tryin to do the right thing. Not because the right thing is hard to do—it ain’t. It’s just cause the right thing—well, the right thing’s got a way of eluding you. You give me a compass that tells good from bad, and boy I’ll be a soldier of the righteous truth. But them two things are a slippery business, and tellin them apart might as well be a blind man’s guess.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels



“...and she's thinking of rage, like an ember or a burning acid swallowing up her knotted viscera. Blindness like the kind that leads men to perpetrate horrors, animal drunkenness, the jungles of the mind.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“Sometimes you gotta bust apart to get yourself put back together.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“In her own experience she's learned that happiness and sadness find their own level no matter what's biting you, mosquitoes or meatskins.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“...you can't put nothing past these southern boys. They just sit around waiting for somebody to kill their brother so they can get started on some vengeance. It's like a dang vocation with them”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“All of a sudden, there is no hurry. There will be time for everything. For the breezes that blow and for the rainwater drying in the gutters, for Maury to find a place of safety in the world, for Malcolm to come back from the dead and ask her about birds and jets. For the big things too, things like beauty and vengeance and honor and righteousness and the grace of God and the slow spilling of the earth from day to night and back to day again.
It is spread out before her, compressed into one single moment. She will be able to see it all.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels



“It don't matter, she says. It just comes from thinkin too much. That's why you can't slow down for long. You gotta keep your brain tired out so it don't start searching for things to dwell on.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“The world, it treats you kind enough so long as you're not fightin against it.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“He was here once before but that was in a different lifetime, when wonders were rare and announced—like amusement parks or school trips.
Now they are everywhere, for the delectation of those among the survivors who might be hunters of miracles.
And the beauty he looks over is fathomable only by a girl who would have felt the measure of it as deep as to her dazzled soul.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“There is no pain - just travel.
On her knees, she stays still as a supplicant ready for communion. It is very quiet. All of a sudden there is no hurry. There will be time for everything. For the breezes that blow and for the rainwater drying in the gutters, for Maury to find a place of safety in the world, for Malcolm to come back from the dead and ask her about birds and jets. For the big things too, things like beauty and vengeance and honor and righteousness and the grace of God and the slow spilling of the earth from day to night and back to day again.
It is spread out before her, compressed into one single moment. She will be able to see it all -- if she can keep her sleepy eyes open.
It's like a dream where she is. Like a dream where you find yourself underwater and you are panicked for a moment until you realize you no longer need to breathe, and you can stay under the surface forever.
She feels her body falling sideways to the ground. It happens slow - and she expects a crash that never comes because her mind is jumping and it doesn't know which way is up anymore, like the moon above her and the fish below her and her in between floating, like on the surface of the river, floating between sea and sky, the world all skin, all meniscus, and she a part of it too.
Moses Todd told her if you lean over the rail at Niagara Falls it takes your breath away, like turning yourself inside out -- and Lee the hunter told her that one time people used to stuff themselves in barrels and ride over the edge.
And she is there too, floating out over the edge of the falls, the roar of the water so deafening it's like hearing nothing at all, like pillows in your ears, and the water exactly the temperature of your skin, like you are falling and the water is falling, and the water is just more of you, like everything is just more of you, just different configurations of the things that make you up.
She is there, and she's sailing out and down over the falls, down and down, and it takes a long time because the falls are one of God's great mysteries and so high they are higher than any building, and so she is held there, spinning in the air, her eyes closed because she's spinning on the inside too, down and down.
She wonders if she will ever hit the bottom, wonders will the splash ever come.
Maybe not - because God is a slick god, and he knows things about infinities. Infinities are warm places that never end. And they aren't about good and evil, they're just peaceful-like and calm, and they're where all travelers go eventually, and they are round everywhere you look because you can't have any edges in infinities.
And also they make forever seem like an okay thing.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“She tells of moments when she would forget, when her own simmering evil would seem to dissipate and let through the clear spectacle of life. One had to be careful of those moments, because they were fleeting and intended not for her but instead for the delectation of other children of God. Or, if they were meant for her, they could break her heart as easily as mend it...”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels



“Pushing through some viney branches, she comes into a clearing andfinds a sight that makes her hush--and not just her voice but every part of her, like feeling silence in her deep guts...
It's something she can feel in the back of her throat, her dislike of the scene--as though what she's looking upon is unholy, the conjunction of chaos and order in a forced fit where everything is stretched and bent in the wrong way like those baby legs.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“She thinks of James Grierson. His Kisses tasted like whiskey, and they landed right and true.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“Some people, he says, they hide themselves away from the eyes of the world. They hunker down and shiver. They find four walls high enough to put between them and everything else. Those people, to them the world is a frightful place. See, you and me, we're different. When we are called on to move, we move. It don't matter the cause or the distance. Revenge or ministration, reason or folly - it's all the same to us.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“She leaves him sitting there, glancing back just once before she goes through the stairwell door and observing how the cloud of smoke from his cigar gets pulled in wisps out the dark gaping hole in the glass wall--as though it is his soul, too large for his massive frame and seeping out the pores of his skin and wandering circuitous back into the wilderness where it knows itself true among the violent and the dead.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“He nods, his eyes on her like he's reading a book he's just getting to the end of and can't be interrupted.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels



“Dying is Easy , its Living that's hard”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“It makes people feel good to build somethin big. Makes people feel like they're makin progress, I reckon.
Progress toward what?
It doesn't matter. Up higher or down deeper or out farther. As long as you're movin, it don't matter much where you're goin or what's chasin you. That's why they call it progress. It keeps goin of it's own accord.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“It has become something to her, that memory — something she can take out in dismal times and stare into like a crystal ball disclosing not presages but reminders. She holds it in her palm like a captured ladybug and thinks, Well ain’t I been some places, ain’t I partook in some glorious happenings wanderin my way between heaven and earth. And if I ain’t seen everything there is to see, it wasn’t for lack of lookin.
Blind is the real dead.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“There are some things she doesn't like to think about because thinking about them takes up every part of her mind and body.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“You Griersons are a touchy bunch. One minute it's biscuits and model ships and the next minute it's outrage and horror.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels



“Hey, girl. You awake over there?"
"Yeah, I'm awake."
Just this seems to satisfy him for a minute. Confirmation of awakeness, the fraternity of insomniacs.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“She leaves him sitting there, glancing back just once before going through the stairwell door and observing how the cloud of smoke from his cigar gets pulled in wisps out the dark gaping hole in the glass wall - as though it is his soul, too large for his massive frame and seeping out the pores of his skin and wandering circuitous back into the wilderness where it knows itself true among the violent and the dead.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“What I mean is I done some things I don’t care to talk about. Little sister, anyone alive’s got a collection of those things. Maybe so, but it’s one thing to feel like there’s a few rotten things knocking around inside you like some beans in a can. But it’s another thing to feel like those things are what your heart and stomach and brain are built out of.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“I bet I got places to go that I don’t even know exist yet.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels


“They belong, Temple thinks. They have the stink of belonging wherever they go. This world is their world, and they take possession of every yard they cover, and they run the sun to its grave every night.”
― Alden Bell, quote from The Reapers are the Angels



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