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Words

Tag: Literature

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Here then may be lived a life of the sense so pure, so untouched by any mode of apprehension but their own, that the body may be said to think.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

I have heard of a strange delusion that the sun does not shine up here. It does; and because of the clarity of the air its light has power: it has more power, I suppose, in light than in heat.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

It is perhaps the profound way in which capitalism enters women’s minds and bodies that renders ‘ruthless comparison’ the basic mode of their relationships with others.

— Zadie Smith, NW

They were so different to the clothes my mother wore, none of these English drawing room colours she was all open-heart crises and burnt vivid oranges, colours that made your pupils dilate and were deep enough to enter your belly and sit there like the aftertaste of a good meal. No flowers, none that I could name, but dancing elephants strutting peacocks and long-necked birds who looked as if they were kissing their own backs, shades and cloth which spoke of bare feet on dust, roadside smokey dhabas, honking taxi horns and heavy sudden rain beating a bhangra on deep green leaves. But when I looked at Mrs Christmas’ frocks, I thought of tea by an open fire with an autumn wind howling outside, horses’ hooves, hats and gloves, toast, wartime brides with cupid bow mouths laughing and waving their hankies to departing soldiers, like I’d seen on that telly programme, All Our Yesterdays.

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

Never again will a single story be told as though it’s the only one

— John Berger

“What a beautiful name,” Kimberly said. “Does it mean anything? I love multicultural names because they have such wonderful meanings, from wonderful rich cultures.” Kimberly was smiling the kindly smile of people who thought “culture” the unfamiliar colourful reserve of colourful people, a word that always had to be qualified with “rich”. She would not think Norway had a “rich culture”.

— Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Americanah

We are reminded of the old Persian curse: “May your every desire be immediately fulfilled.”

— The Te of Piglet

The past is always tense, the future perfect

— Zadie Smith, White Teeth

From the very beginning he feels effortlessly incorporated into their lives. It is a different brand of hospitality from what he is used to; for though the Ratliffs are generous, they are people who do not go out of their way to accommodate others, assured, in his case correctly, that their life will appeal to him.

— Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake

Papas singing always unleashed these emotions which were unfamiliar and instinctive at the same time, in a language I could not recognise but felt I could speak in my sleep, in my dreams, evocative of a country I had never visited but which sounded like the only home I had ever known. The songs made me realise that there was a corner of me that would be forever not England.

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me
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