As long as a man had the courage to reject what society told him to do, he could live life on his own terms. To what end? To be free. But free to what end? To read books, to write books, to think.
it’s a rare day when she speaks in anything but platitudes–all those exhausted phrases and hand-me-down ideas that cram the dump sites of contemporary wisdom
Our lives carry us along in ways we cannot control, and almost nothing stays with us. It dies when we do, and death is something that happens to us every day.
The moon people do not eat by swallowing food but by smelling it. Their money is poetry – actual poems, written out on pieces of paper whose value is determined by the worth of the poem itself.
Writing is a solitary business. It takes over your life. In some sense, a writer has no life of his own. Even when he’s there, he’s not really there.
To care about words, to have a stake in what is written, to believe in the power of books – this overwhelms the rest, and beside it one’s life becomes very small.
Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.
You’re too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.
All children are love children, he said, but only the best ones are ever called that.
Novels are fictions and therefore they tell lies, but through those lies every novelist attempts to tell the truth about the world.
I learned that books are never finished, that it is possible for stories to go on writing themselves without an author.
She’s too sad to be beautiful. No one that sad can still be beautiful.
Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time.
We all want to believe in impossible things, I suppose, to persuade ourselves that miracles can happen.
All the happiness of man stems from one thing only: that he is incapable of staying quietly in his room.
I know you don’t love me but that doesn’t mean I’m the wrong girl for you.
I couldn’t imagine myself doing it anymore. It was part of my life that had ended for me, and here was my chance to set out on a fresh course
If people never learned the truth about him, then they couldn’t turn around and use it against him. The lie was a way of buying protection.
For a man who finds life tolerable only by staying on the surface of himself, it is natural to be satisfied with offering no more than his surface to others.
If you look into someone’s face long enough, eventually you’re going to feel that you’re looking at yourself.
Good begets good; evil begets evil; and even if the good you give is met by evil, you have no choice but to go on giving better than you get. Otherwise-and these were Willy’s exact words-why bother to go on living?
Behind all the surface composure, there seemed to be a great darkness: an urge to test himself, to take risks, to haunt the edges of things.
The world is governed by chance. Randomness stalks us every day of our lives.
You see, the interesting thing about books, as opposed, say, to films, is that it’s always just one person encountering the book, it’s not an audience, it’s one to one.
Movies are not novels, and that’s why, when filmmakers try to adapt novels, particularly long or complex novels, the result is almost always failure. It can’t be done.
For me, a paragraph in a novel is a bit like a line in a poem. It has its own shape, its own music, its own integrity.
I knew from the age of 16 that I wanted to be a writer because I just didn’t think I could do anything else. So I read and read and wrote short stories and dreamed of escape.
The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.
The funny thing is that I feel close to all my characters. Deep, deep inside them all.
All I wanted to do was write – at the time, poems, and prose, too. I guess my ambition was simply to make money however I could to keep myself going in some modest way, and I didn’t need much, I was unmarried at the time, no children.
I was always interested in French poetry sort of as a sideline to my own work, I was translating contemporary French poets. That kind of spilled out into translation as a way to earn money, pay for food and put bread on the table.