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Words

Tag: Literature

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I had given him a life not worth living, but I had also given him an iron will to live. This was a common combination on the planet Earth.

— Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

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

The Fourteenth Book is entitled, “What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?” It doesn’t take long to read The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period.
This is it:
“Nothing.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

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

This quality of discernment, she has realised, does not make Lukas a good person. He has managed to nurture a fine artistic sensitivity without ever developing any real sense of right and wrong. The fact that this is even possible unsettles Marianne, and makes art seem pointless suddenly.

— Sally Rooney, Normal People

“Do you think Miss Saeki knew what all the lyrics mean?” Ashima looks up, listening to the thunder as if calculating how far away it is. He turns to me and shakes his head. “Not necessarily. Symbolism and meaning are two separate things. I think she found the right words by bypassing procedures like meaning and logic. She captured words in a dream, like delicately catching hold of a butterfly’s wings as it flutters around. Artists are those who can evade the verbose.”

— Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Here then may be lived a life of the senses 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

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

— John Berger

But listening to the D major, I can feel the limits of what humans are capable of – that a certain type of perfection can only be realised through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect. And personally, I find that encouraging.

— Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Words of divine consciousness: moral exaltation; lasting feelings of elevation, elation, joy; a quickening of the moral sense, which strikes on as more important than an intellectual understanding of things; an alignment of the universe along moral lines, not intellectual ones; a realization that the founding principle of existence is what we call love, which works itself out sometimes not clearly, not cleanly, not immediately, nonetheless ineluctably.

— Yann Martel, Life of Pi
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