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“Literature is a source of pleasure, he said, it is one of the rare inexhaustible joys in life, but it's not only that. It must not be disassociated from reality. Everything is there. That is why I never use the word fiction. Every subtlety in life is material for a book. He insisted on the fact. Have you noticed, he'd say, that I'm talking about novels? Novels don't contain only exceptional situations, life or death choices, or major ordeals; there are also everyday difficulties, temptations, ordinary disappointments; and, in response, every human attitude, every type of behavior, from the finest to the most wretched. There are books where, as you read, you wonder: What would I have done? It's a question you have to ask yourself. Listen carefully: it is a way to learn to live. There are grown-ups who would say no, that literature is not life, that novels teach you nothing. They are wrong. Literature performs, instructs, it prepares you for life.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“We have no time to waste on insignificant books, hollow books, books that are there to please...

We want books that cost their authors a great deal, books where you can feel the years of work, the backache, the writer's block, the author's panic at the thought that he might be lost: his discouragement, his courage, his anguish, his stubbornness, the risk of failure that he has taken.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“We want books that are written for those of us who doubt everything, who cry over the least little thing, who are startled by the slightest noise.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“He had no more imaginary space, nowhere he could escape to, no more expectations, all he could do was make himself available to the present moment, to what was immeasurable, the terrible profusion of moments that make up a day.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“I had plenty of time,' he said, telling himself that was one of the saddest sentences there is.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“We want splendid books ... books that prove to us that love is at work in the world next to evil, right up against it, at times indistinctly, and that it always will be ...”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“Her strength, she would tell Van much later on, was nothing more nor less than the hope of, at last, attaining that goal which had become so important for her--not to succeed in doing something, but simply to do something good.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“And when I think there are people around me who complain they can't find anything good to read. What nonsense ... every month you and I discover a masterpiece.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“There is nothing more difficult to master than repetition. If you do it badly, it's clumsy, stupid. When it's well done, it's like a little echo, like waves, poetry itself.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“By definition, confusion is beneficial to mediocrity.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“We want splendid books, books that immerse us in the splendor of reality and keep us there; books that prove to us that love is at work in the world next to evil, right up against it, at times indistinctly, and that it always will be, just the way that suffering will always ravage hearts. We want good novels...And even if there is only one such book per decade,...only one...every ten years, that would be enough. We want nothing else.”
Laurence Cossé, A Novel Bookstore
“I don't believe for a minute that the proof of God's existence is achieved. My faith prohibits me from believing that the proof of God's existence can ever be adduced. My God is not an object for verification, He is a subject for love. My faith is not knowledge, it is acceptance. It is a matter not of calculation but of trust.”
Laurence Cossé, A Corner of the Veil: A Novel


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