And the problem was that there was a positive epidemic of narcissism, encouraged by commercial manipulation and by the shallow values of Hollywood films. And interestingly enough, the real growth area was male narcissism.
The size of one’s house might bear a relationship to the size of one’s opinion of oneself, but it had nothing to do with one’s real worth.
To dispatch one’s friends to a dictionary from time to time is one of the more sophisticated pleasures of life, but it is one that must be indulged in sparingly: to do it too often may result in accusations of having swallowed one’s own dictionary, which is not a compliment whichever way one looks at it.
How often have I noticed or, indeed, listened to him? We talk, but do I actually listen, or is our conversation mainly a question of my waiting for him to stop and for it to be my turn to say something? For how many of us is that what conversation means – the setting up of our lines?
This was what it meant to live in Botswana; when the rest of the world might work itself into a frenzy of activity, one might still sit, in the space before a house with ochre walls, a mug of bush tea in one’s hand, and talk about very small things: headmen in wells, goats and jealousy.
Nobody went to bed at seven in Paris, even French children. Les enfants stayed up late at night, he had heard, eating with the adults, sipping red wine, and discussing the latest books and films.
There was a great deal of progress being made, right under their noses, particularly in Africa, and this progress was good. Life was much harder for tyrants than it had been before.
There are many women whose lives would be immeasurably improved by widowhood, but one should not always point that out.
She had been tied to an incubus, the memory of a love that had been rejected and had had nowhere to go; she had been locked into a dead relationship and now the last dried skin of it had fallen away, like the scab on a wound, and she was free.
Yet she was determined that when she married she would not forget who she was and who her people were. She would not affect any airs.