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Ross Macdonald quotes (showing 1-30 of 43)

“The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world and its disasters.”
Ross Macdonald
“There was nothing wrong with Southern California that a rise in the ocean level wouldn't cure.”
Ross Macdonald, The Drowning Pool
“Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence.”
Ross Macdonald
“She was trouble looking for somebody to happen to.”
Ross Macdonald, The Wycherly Woman
“It was some time since I had gone to sleep in the same room with a girl. Of course, the room was large and reasonably well-lighted, and the girl had other things than me on her mind.”
Ross Macdonald, The Blue Hammer
“No one looks at the mountains. But they were there, making them all look silly.”
Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target
“The past was filling the room like a tide of whispers.”
Ross Macdonald, The Instant Enemy
tags: past
“I like a little danger. Tame danger, controlled by me. It gives me a sense of power, I guess, to take my life in my hands and know damn well I’m not going to lose it.”
Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target
tags: danger
“All you men still have the Victorian hangover. I suppose you think woman’s place is in the home, too?”
“Not my home.”
Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target
“I used to think the world was divided into good people and bad people, that you could pin responsibility for evil on certain definite people and punish the guilty. I’m still going through the motions.”
Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target
“A cockroach stepped out from behind the ketchup, gave me a quick impassive once-over, decided that I was of the Brahmin faith, and walked earnestly across the table on errands of his own. Somebody had left a newspaper on the bench beside me, and I picked it up and swatted the cockroach, permitting his soul to transmigrate into the body of a quartermaster.”
Ross Macdonald
“He had pink butterfly ears. The rest of him was still in the larval stage.”
Ross Macdonald, The Drowning Pool
“He hadn’t wanted to be helped the way I wanted to help him, the way that helped me.”
Ross Macdonald, The Doomsters
“I have a secret passion for mercy. But justice is what keeps happening to people.”
Ross Macdonald, The Goodbye Look
“I found myself wishing that we could live like the birds and move through nature without hurting it ourselves.”
Ross Macdonald, Sleeping Beauty
tags: nature
“...a thin woman about fifty with a face like a silver hatchet.”
Ross Macdonald, The Wycherly Woman
“I felt like a lonely cat, an aging tom ridden by obscure rage, looking for torn-ear trouble. I clipped that pitch off short and threw it away. Night streets were my territory, and would be till I rolled in the last gutter.”
Ross Macdonald, The Drowning Pool
“No more guns for you.”
Ross Macdonald
tags: guns
“The walls were lined with books, many of them in foreign languages, like insulation against the immediate present.”
Ross Macdonald
“The smell of the sea, of kelp and fish and bitter moving water, rose stronger in my nostrils. It flooded my consciousness like an ancestral memory. The swells rose sluggishly and fell away, casting up dismal gleams between the boards of the pier. And the whole pier rose and fell in stiff and creaking mimicry, dancing its long slow dance of dissolution. I reached the end and saw no one, heard nothing but my footsteps and the creak of the beams, the slap of waves on the pilings. It was a fifteen-foot drop to the dim water. The nearest land ahead of me was Hawaii.”
Ross Macdonald, The Drowning Pool
tags: ocean, sea
“Behind the semi-elliptical bar four cowboys who had never been near a cow sang western songs which sounded as if they had originated in the far east.”
Ross Macdonald, The Underground Man
“Some men spend their lives looking for ways to punish themselves for having been born.”
Ross Macdonald, The Chill
“In wine was truth, perhaps, but in whisky, the way Hoffman sluiced it down, was an army of imaginary rats climbing your legs.”
Ross Macdonald, The Chill
“We're all in the game. We all drive cars, and we're all hooked on oil. The question is how we can get unhooked before we drown in the stuff.”
Ross Macdonald, Sleeping Beauty
“My free hand reached for something to hold on to, and closed on liquid nothing.”
Ross Macdonald, The Drowning Pool
tags: noir
“I like the sun."
"Do you really? I didn't think you'd go in for simple things like sun. You're the neon type, aren't you?"
"If you say so.”
Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target
“Some of us start out whole and stay that way.
Some need a spare part or two.
Henry - he was a bits-and-pieces kind of guy”
Ross Macdonald, Achoo! Bang! Crash!: The Noisy Alphabet
“On both sides of the highway I could see the rows of little frame houses, all alike, as if there were only one architect in the city and he had a magnificent obsession.”
Ross Macdonald
“Neighborhood grocery stores, coal yards, gas stations, cheap taverns, big old rundown houses, a few churches with blank embarrassed faces.”
Ross Macdonald
“I found when I followed the driveway around to the back that behind its imposing front it was just another tract house, as if the architect had tried to combine a southern plantation mansion with the slave quarters.”
Ross Macdonald

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