It was a city to visit, not a city to live in, but it was the city where Wormold had first fallen in love and he was held to it as though to the scene of a disaster. Time gives poetry to a battlefield.

I recognized my work for what it was–as unimportant a drug as cigarettes to get one through the weeks and years. If we are extinguished by death, as I still try to believe, what point is there in leaving some books behind any more than bottles, clothes, or cheap jewellry?

When we get to the end of human beings we have to delude ourselves into a belief in God, like a gourmet who demands more complex sauces with his food.

She had an immense store of trivial memories and when she wasn’t living in the future she was living in the past. As for the present – she got through that as quickly as she could, running away from things, running towards things, so that her voice was always a little breathless, her heart pounding at an escape or an expectation.

I couldn’t help wondering, is my husband so unattractive that no woman has ever wanted him? Except me, of course. I must have wanted him, in a way, once, but I’ve forgotten why, and I was too young to know what I was choosing.

It seemed to Scobie that life was immeasurably long. Couldn’t the test of man have been carried out in fewer years? Couldn’t we have committed our first major sin at seven, have ruined ourselves for love or hate at ten, have clutched at redemption on a fifteen-year-old deathbed?

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