Fabulous book. Comparing the socks to mice was genius. I was sad she did it a second time though. Ending was completely bewildering to me.
"And there wFabulous book. Comparing the socks to mice was genius. I was sad she did it a second time though. Ending was completely bewildering to me.
"And there was Franny, resembling a piece of modern furniture under a police tarp."
"When he closed the door to the basement behind him, and old, dry fountain pen fell from over the door frame and rolled into the hallway."
"The customers brought canisters and tubes and small cubes to the counter, and the men and women behind the counter accepted these objects and affixed them with stamps and stickers indicating their destination and contents..."
"Franny never came to David in dreams and he respected her for that."
"Some ghosts were mute, and other ghosts murmured to keep themselves company. Some had the power to throw chains against walls, but they were ghost chains and behaved different from chains one might find wrapped in a coil at a hardware store...A few dug around in trash cans. They pulled out cotton swabs and left them scattered around the room. When the victim entered, he worried that things were not as they seemed."
"If they could make a fruit out of a chunk of Styrofoam, they would do it."
"It was hard to admit that those days were over, but it was hard to admit that any days were over, that the days themselves didn't stretch like pulled taffy and sag to the floor."
"The streets were empty, save for a few late-night or early-morning runners and the rare sweep of headlights. He saw dead leaves on the trees for what felt like the first time, though of course he had seen dead leaves in the past. He tried to think. The leaves were speckled with wilt. They hung from the trees like leather pelts."
"Think of a time you've felt warm and unsafe," she said. "Try to think of such a time."
"The water on the stove pimpled with the pending boil."
"David's father would regularly make a meal of five pieces of toast. He ate his own toast dry and smeared grape jelly on a single slice for his son. During one such meal he set down the jelly knife, plucked an eyelash off David's cheek, and held it before the boy's face. 'You have more intelligence in this eyelash,' he said. 'Than what?' David asked, but his father had already left the room, toast in hand."
He had used Franny's cell phone once, and it felt as if he was speaking into a potato chip."
"Schoolchildren on station tours blinked when they entered the dark rotunda from outside. They bumped into one another, necks craned back toward the domed ceiling."
"A wasp crawled into David's ear and he stood very still, waiting for it to come out."
"Folded socks nestled like baby mice around their perimeter."
"The moment one fully realizes this truth can lead to a difficult transition. You move awkwardly from ignorance to knowledge like a baby falling down a set of stairs inside a bucket."
"'Clean home, old heart,' he said."
"David ran his tongue across the newly smooth teeth. It tasted like he was holding a small book in his mouth. He longed to read his words to Franny again but had eaten them. He went downstairs."
"'I don't even have to ask you a question. Eventually you'll give me everything I want, which is, in turn, everything you need.'"
"It seemed possible that when he died, the feeling of death would spread through his body like a deep blush, that the blood on its farewell tour of his veins and capillaries would move slowly and with familiarity, like a man leaving a room for the last time, looking and the items he had purchased and arranged, broken or repaired, the man recognizing each before switching off the light."
"'I saw her walking up a side street three blocks from where we usually walk. She stood at a wall at the end of the street and pressed it as if to move it.' Her eyes were wild. 'She didn't turn when I called.'"
"There would be a moment for him as well, for all, but it was her moment at that moment, her prize of air, her still lake, her sweet boat floating away, away, her body warping wood, swale and heavy, a sinking thing."
A fabulous writer. Too bad he's an asshole. My friend says she feels bad for white male writers because their story has already been told so many timeA fabulous writer. Too bad he's an asshole. My friend says she feels bad for white male writers because their story has already been told so many times before. Their experience will never be new if that is what they choose to write about. That is what Ben Lerner writes about.
"Emerging from the train, I found it was fully night, the air excited by foreboding and something else, something like the feel of a childhood snow day when times was emancipated from institutions, when the snow seemed like a technology for defeating time, or like defeated time itself falling from the sky, each glittering ice particle an instant gifted back from your routine."
"I might have mistaken my intensified attention to the wind for intensifying wind."
"I looked up at an illuminated billboard on which nothing appeared but a violet wash, probably because a new advertisement was going up, and asked Sharon, who is colorblind, what she saw."
"As I made and unmade a variety of overlapping narratives out of its found footage, I felt acutely how many different days could be built out of a day, felt more possibility than determinism, the utopian glimmer of fiction. When I looked at my watch to see a unit of measure identical to the one displayed on the screen, I was indicating that a distance remained between art and the mundane."
"I felt angry, like an angry old man."
"It was still fully afternoon, but it felt like magic hour, when light appears immanent to the lit."
'You're not my teacher,' Roberto had said on more than one occasion when I'd tried to force him to focus on our book; I imagined him exclaiming it in the museum and then disappearing into the depths of the bioluminescence exhibit, never to be seen again."
"nothing in the world, I thought to myself, is as old as what was futuristic in the past."
"The noise was deafening now that I wasn't talking or listening to anyone in particular."
"...or think of art as leisure that is work/ in houses the undocumented build, repair."
"You start by writing and then you're drawing. Or you start by reading and then you're looking."
"There, inventions such as the telephone, the wristwatch, and haste seemed futuristic anachronisms."
"We've already got seA bit over-written, but fun.
"There, inventions such as the telephone, the wristwatch, and haste seemed futuristic anachronisms."
"We've already got seven cats and two cockatoos. One more creature won't make much difference."
"It made his hair and teeth fall out, and his face and hands were covered with some incriminating fungus, a sort of leprosy of dust."
"I recalled them as years of peace and sadness."
"Next to the gallery, the piano keyboard displayed its endless grin."
"To truly hate is an art one learns with time."
"Arrogant as only idiots can be."
"People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren't already complicated enough."
"I found myself surrounded by millions of abandoned pages, by worlds and souls without an owner sinking in a na ocean of darkness, while the world that throbbed outside the library seemed to be losing its memory, day after day, unknowingly, feeling all the wiser the more it forgot."
"Several drawn and frightened faces peeped around half-open doors -- boardinghouse faces fed on watery soup."
"The door was opened by a woman in a padded turquoise-blue checked dressing gown, slippers, and a helmet of curlers. In that dim light, she looked like a deep-sea diver."
"The city was asleep, and the bookshop felt like a boat adrift in a sea of silence and shadows."
"Soon we heard the rumbling of traffic, and the air seemed to light up like a flame of gas with the heat from the streetlamps and traffic lights. They made me think of invisible walls."
"It was flanked by doorless frames through which one could make out candlelit halls filled with rows of beds, piled up against the wall and covered with mosquito nets that moved in the air like shrouds."
"She wandered into the shadows, carrying her bucket and dragging her shadow like a bridal veil."
"'You're wasting your time, young man. Juanito only knows how to let off farts, and those what are with him can only laugh and sniff them.'"
Juanito and his gang of inhalers.
"Waiting is the rust of the soul."
"The peephole closed and within a few seconds the bolts and latches began to perform their sounds."
"Fumero couldn't bear people with no muscle tone. They nauseated him."
"What the flower vendor interpreted as "pretty nasty" was only the intensity that comes to those who, better late than never, have found a purpose in life and try to make up for lost time."
"He spent the days in his old room, which, as his father had promised, was unchanged, though now everything seemed smaller, as if objects had shrunk with time."
This in an absolutely amazing collection of people quickly becoming extinct interviewed in China by a fascinating and brave interviewer.
From The ProfThis in an absolutely amazing collection of people quickly becoming extinct interviewed in China by a fascinating and brave interviewer.
From The Professional Mourner:
"Our wailing sounds more authentic than that of the children or relatives of the deceased."
These tunes -- "Sending off the Spirit," "Pursuing the Spirit," "Requiem," "Calling the Spirit," "Farewell from Family Members," "The Ultimate Sorrow," "Sealing the Coffin," "Transcending to Heaven," "Burial," "One Last Look," "The Searing Pain," and "Oh I am So Sad" -- have been performed for hundreds of years, passed down from generation to generation.
"Young Fellow, playing the suona in the old days was never considered a degrading profession. Rich kids might have looked down on us, but they were notoriously phony."
From The Human Trafficker
"What do they know about happiness? My daughters are the children of a poor peasant. As long as thier husbands have dicks, that's all I care."
"My tongue was as slick as if it were soaked in oil, and I could easily lure a real goddess from heaven into marrying a human on earth."
From the Public Restroom Manager
"You're a born toilet cleaner. You even use a shit ladle as a murder weapon. So insulting! That was no shit ladle. It was for cooking."
"The Red Guards painted Communist slogans all over the place and didn't leave enough room for graffiti artists. On the restroom walls, they printed slogans like "Capitalists Are as Worthless as Shit" or "Counterrevolutionaries Deserve to Eat Shit."
From The Corpse Walkers
"Because the corpse was wrapped up in a robe, no other customers would even suspect anything, and the local people actually considered corpse walker auspicious, because death is the beginning of life in another world."
"Even in winter, corpse walkers have to inject mercury and other anti-decaying solutions onto the body."
From the Peasant Emperor
"It's a long story. Your Majesty is in a sour mood now, and cannot continue."
From the Feng Shui Master
"So, two years ago, I left the business to my nine-year-old apprentice, who is a feng shui prodigy."
"Inside his tomb, there was a long list of modern luxuries: a stone replica of a luxury car, a stone bed carved in the shape of a dragon boat, a room set aside for a nightclub with karaoke equipment. He even built a nice carved stone chair, specifically reserved for his meeting with the president of a multinational corporation in the world of the dead."
"Two years ago, there used to be an area in the marketplace for blind fortune-tellers and feng shui masters."
"That witch only knows one trick: burn some fake paper money to appease the ghost and mix the ashes with water."
"In this world, feng shui changes all the time. One minute, luck appears on the east, and the next minute, it moves to the west. It's like catching a mouse inside a quilt -- you pounce on this end, and the mouse escapes from the other."
From The Abbott
"The Receiving Hall is being reconstructed on its ruins. If you pass the crumbling Hall of Burning Candles, you will see the forest of pagodas, where generations of Buddhist monks were buried."
From The Composer
"Do you know that it takes three thousand peasants working for five years in order to feed and support a student in college? How could you do this to the Party and to the great masses who have fed you?"
"Since he liked the lyrics I wrote for the chorus, the Red Guards condemned my work as blades of poisonous grass."
From the Former Landowner
"However, my fellow villagers, who used to be polite and respectful, had suddenly changed, as if they had all donned different facial masks."
"I'm turning eighty-nine this year. I've long become tired of life. What can I do? The more I want ot die, the further away I am from death. The pine coffin that lies in the main hall was made for me over twenty years ago."
"One day, I was getting some sun by a basketball court. It was warm. So I unzipped my pants and began to catch fleas on my underwear. Suddenly, I heard some loud screaming. If this had been in the countryside, nobody would give a damn about such a trivial thing. But it was a big deal in the city. How dare Mr. Zhou's father unzip his pants in public? It totally embarrassed my son. There was another thing that drove my daughter-in-law nuts. She couldn't stand it when I smoked tobacco in the house. I was forced to smoke on the balcony. There are too many rules in big cities. On the street, you have to pay to take a dump at the public toilet. In the rural areas here, you can take a pee or dump anywhere you want. It doesn't matter where you relieve yourself around here because all the crap will be gone the next day. The wild dogs will have eaten it all."
From the Yi District Chief's Wife
"Then a feng shui master recommended cutting human tongues into pieces, drying them in the sun, and grinding them into powder to spread on the infected areas."
"That evening, three of my relatives came, took our door off, stacked the bodies on top, and carried them to a location up on the mountain. Since it was dark, they couldn't see well."
"He jumped around and disappeared. he was literally like those savage creatures that scientists said they had discovered in the rain forest here."
From The Village Teacher
"Mr. Wang, who came to pick us up, said people still used kerosene lamps. There was but one street, with shops on both sides. In the distance, we could see flickering lights coming from one shop. We were told it was the local blacksmith's. The occasional banging and clanking from the shop made the surrounding area seem eerily quiet. It was like walking on the moon."
From The Mortician
"A little girl was killed in a traffic accident. When they brought her to the funeral home, half of her head was gone. I touched her hands and arms, and sadness overcame me."
"The scariest part of life in not death, but the loss that comes with death. When I look around me, I notice that I can't afford to lose stuff anymore."
From The Neighborhood Committee Director
"Well, what do you think? We have been treated as a symbol of the past. My feelings are hurt."
"Several old folks in the neighborhood are now taking turns doing the broadcasting. Since we are old and can't see properly, we constantly make mistakes. We have to shorten the radio broadcast time."
From The Counterrevolutionary
"Protesting against the government was like throwing an egg against a big rock -- a futile attempt with big personal loss."
"I think you have sat your butt on the wrong chair."
"Everyone is so kind, not only to one another, but also to animals."
The Tiananmen Father
"His grandparents doted on him, treating him like a shiny pearl in the palm of their hands."
My generation had been tossed around so much by Chairman Mao's political campaigns. Our lives were all ruined and wasted."
"My body slumped to the floor, like a soft noodle."
From The Falun Gong Practitioner
"Everybody was happy -- I mean the kind of happiness arising from our hearts, free of worries about trivial stuff."
From The Illegal Border Crosser
"As a kid, he used to sit alone by the side of the river and watch boats come and go. My mother told me that he would constantly ask himself questions such as: What's it like to be and the other end of the river? What's it like at the other end of the earth?"
"I always carry memories of my homeland in a bag: a couple of Chinese books, including a collection of Chinese poems, a Chinese dictionary, and pictures of some beautiful Chinese women."
From The Safecracker
"Apart from the stinky smell on my body, I looked like a jogger. I dashed down the mountain on a small wooded path. My legs moved like they were equipped with wings. I jumped over dead trees and rocks. I think I must have broken the world distance running record. I fell and rolled down a sloping mountain path several times. I got up and moved in. I ran into five or six tourists coming down from the mountain. I smelled so bad. They all covered their noses and ran away from me. All that time, I thought I heard the sirens of police cars. It turned out I was just hallucinating."
"While I was on the run, my body was set free, but my mind wasn't."
From the Blind Erhu Player
"'Water from the River' is such a sad piece. Why don't I play you "Chirpy Birds on the Empty Mountain'?"
"For a blind person like me, every day is the same, unless I get sick or injure myself by bumping into a wall."
"He is head of the local triad, who controls this territory. We call him "Mr. Big Guy for the Blind.""
From The Street Singer
"I served as their guide and led them from village to village. Can you imagine a four-year-old, with a shaved head, walking at the front of a group of blind musicians? I was often bored and tired, reduced to picking my nose and yawning."
"It was called 'Beauty Stabbing Her Eyes to Motivate Her Wayward Lover'."
"Under his instruction, I practiced for hours. My little soft hand hurt so much."
"There was no furniture, nothing, except a bed and a globe."
From The Sleepwalker
"Recently, while he was reading late at night, he came across a magazine article about sleepwalking. He was so excited that he woke me up, and said: Look, it says here that in South America, there is a village for sleepwalkers. People work at night and sleepwalk during the daytime. If tourists visit the village at noon, they will see many people sleeping under the trees or sleepwalking on the street. The village is so quiet. the village will come to life after dusk. The shops are open. People get up and then resume their nightly business. By midnight, the whole village is lit up like daytime. the circus will come in and the whole place is packed with locals and tourists."
"Sometimes, in my dreams, I thought I have written lots of great stuff on paper. When I wake up the next day, it is still a piece of blank paper. Nothing has been written down."
The Migrant Worker
"My kids, on the contrary, never get sick. They are tempered by wind and rain. They are just like young trees. When you just leave them alone, every time you turn around, they get a bit taller."
"During daytime, they all squat by the side of the road, a whole bunch of them in their black shawls, like a flock of bald eagles."
From The Survivor
"Three people and four beds fell through the hole, right in front of my eyes."
"Chunks of rocks came down from the mountain, some as big as half your house, some as big as a table, others like basketballs or oranges."
Very 90's sentiment; Asian exotification. Hatsue is defined by her hair and pretty much nothing else. Also some very graphic sex scenes?
"Like I said,Very 90's sentiment; Asian exotification. Hatsue is defined by her hair and pretty much nothing else. Also some very graphic sex scenes?
"Like I said, fog soup."
"They were enormous, pungent, and hoary beasts, and Ishmael and Hatsue stopped to stare at one rubbing his hindquarters against a fence post."
"They stopped again, pointed, swept their arms this way and that. Car lit his pipe and scratched behind his ear, and Zenhichi pointed with his hat to the west, made a sweep, put his hat on his head. The two men walked between the rows some more, made the crest of the rise, and turned west behind some raspberry canes."
"I feel like a creep. But I have to show this to you."
"You're dead to rights."
"An enemy on an island is an enemy forever, he'd been fond of reminding his son."
"The two friends stood for a few moments on the windy street corner, not speaking a word, as two travelers who have lost their way, sometimes stand an"The two friends stood for a few moments on the windy street corner, not speaking a word, as two travelers who have lost their way, sometimes stand and admit their perplexity in silence."
"The light fell upon the two sad young faces that were turned mutely toward it: upon the eyes of the girl, who seemed to be looking with such anguished perplexity into the future; upon the sombre eyes of the boy, who seemed already to be looking into the past."
"Of all the bewildering things about a new country, the absence of human landmarks is one of the most disheartening."
"He did not know how it had come about, but he was quite willing to go deep under his fields and rest, where the plow could not find him."
"Ivar smiled foolishly, and began rubbing the horses' noses and feeling about their mouths behind the bits."
"A pioneer should have imagination, should be able to enjoy the idea of things more than the things themselves."
"I must be getting back. Mother will want her potatoes. It's chilly already, the moment the light goes."
"Oscar could not grow a mustache; his pale face was as bare as an egg, and his white eyebrows gave it an empty look."
"Look at Peter Kralik; when he was a boy, drinking out of a creek, he swallowed a snake, and always after that he could eat only such food as the creature likes, for when he ate anything else, it became enraged and gnawed him. When he felt it whipping about in him, he drank alcohol to stupefy it and get some ease for himself. He could work as good as any man, and his head was clear, but they locked him up for being different in the stomach."
"'Pass the preserves, Lou,' said Annie in a warning tone."
"As Ivar drove a double carriage up to the gate, Annie came out in a hat that looked like the model of a battleship."
"We don't move lightly and easily as you do, and our minds get stiff."
"A recumbent figure started up from the grass and came running toward them through the flickering screen of light and shade."
"Just smell the wild roses! They are always so spicy after a rain."
"Marie sat sewing or crocheting and tried to take a friendly interest in the game, but she was always thinking about the wide fields outside, where the snow was drifting over the fences; and about the orchard, where the snow was falling and packing, crust over crust. When she went into the dark kitchen to fix her plants for the night, she used to stand by the window and look out at the white fields, or watch the currents of snow whirling over the orchard. She seemed to feel the weight of the snow that lay down there. The branches had become so hard that they wounded your hand if you but tried to break a twig."
"The years seemed to stretch before her like the land; spring, summer, autumn, winter, spring; always the same patient fields, the patient little trees, the patient lives; always the same yearning, the same pulling at the chain -- until the instinct to live had torn itself and bled and weakened for the last time, until the chain secured a dead woman, who might cautiously be released."
"They had spent the last penny of their small change; there was nothing left but gold."
"She longed to be free from her own body, which ached and was so heavy. And longing itself was heavy; she yearned to be free of that."
He wrote it in such a modestly tiny scrawl that almost all scholars who have attempted to decipher it have done so differently.
The languaFrom Preface:
He wrote it in such a modestly tiny scrawl that almost all scholars who have attempted to decipher it have done so differently.
The language of the diary is classical Chinese with a liberal admixture of ninth-century colloquialisms, which are of considerable interest to the student of the development of the modern vernacular.
The shaky and abbreviated calligraphy of Ken'in, the copyist of the Toji manuscript, raises many doubts about the correct interpretation of individual characters, and the inevitable wormholes in a manuscript of this age have partially obliterated other characters. Still more troublesome are the many obvious textual corruptions.
More perplexing than misplacements are missing sections. There seems to be a lacuna near the beginning of the diary which seriously confuses the story of Ennin's original landing in China, and I suspect that there are a few other similar lacunae which are all the more misleading because they are not so obvious.
The possibility that the diary was rewritten to some extents by Ennin after his return to Japan and the certainty that many error have crept into the text because of faulty transmission, make the document somewhat less reliable as a historical source than if we had Ennin's original text as he first wrote it down in China, but the loss in reliability is actually very slight.
Another problem common to all premodern Chinese text is that there is no punctuation or any division between phrases and sentences or, for that matter, any indications of which groupings of characters form names or polysyllabic words and which do not. Slight changes in the divisions made between words, phrases or sentences of the original undivided and unpunctuated text can result in startling differences in meaning.
"I can only paint shadows, and is it not in their very nature to be weightless?"
"Beneath this welcoming veneer lies, unchanged, a harsh and dour reali"I can only paint shadows, and is it not in their very nature to be weightless?"
"Beneath this welcoming veneer lies, unchanged, a harsh and dour reality, the reality I saw before most of its present cosmetics had been applied -- and foreigners who had stayed in Peking two or three years before me had seen it in the raw."
"ghastly diplomatic ghetto."
"There is quite a stock of these touching and funny anecdotes; it would be amusing to collect them."
"Here, since the travelers know nothing, nothing surprises them."
"Who can guarantee that one of these days they will not convert this mystical place into a Monument to Sino-Albanian Friendship, a Permanent Exhibition of Imperialist Atrocities, a Coney Island of the Class Struggle?"
"Some practices that were in vogue during the Cultural Revolution have been discouraged: speed contests in reciting the "Quotations" (some champions could give them not only in the right order, but also backward) and Quotation Calisthenics (where movements followed not a tune, but quotations from Chairman Mao: bend the arm on this phrase, flex the legs on that one, and so on) are out of favor now."
"Air travel in China is full of unexpected charms, but if one is in a hurry, better take the train. The charm of air travel -- apart from the apple or the banana (sometimes both) that one gets during the flight -- is that one never knows when one will depart of when one will arrive, or even where one will land. The element of surprise, nay adventure, give back to air travel some of its former romance."
"In the same way, this insignificant granitic phallus receives all its enormous significance from the blasphemous stupidity of its location."
"The vast boulevards call to mind the false airports which cargo-cult devotees in New Guinea hack out of the jungle in the hope that this will persuade their gods to send planes full of treasure: one is sometimes tempted to believe that the building of the Autobahns, now used only by a few dismal cyclists or donkey carts, might similarly be part of a magic ritual, as if miles of macadam might generate the sudden appearance of hordes of hooting, stinking, triumphant cars -- simultaneously the nightmare of the consumer society and dream of the socialist one."
"the city has been destroyed not under the pressure of existing traffic, but in prevision of traffic yet to come."
"The hotel for foreigners in Tientsin is worth the journey. This monstrous and gloomy construction, a relic of the imperialist era, is usually empty; an army of idle servants yawns and naps along the corridors."
"So there I went: a small factory with about a hundred workmen sculpting billiard balls, polishing seashells, and gluing fake ostrich feathers on plastic objects, making out of a bewildering variety of sickening materials huge quantities of trinkets depicting "Chairman Mao surrounded by peasants, soldiers and workers," "Souvenirs of Yenan," and "Greetings from Shaoshan."
"In the nightmare of its endless corridors, the weight of its triple velvet curtains, the perpetual gloom of its vast lounges filled with gray-covered furniture, I could feel almost physically the permanent presence of the man whom Osip Mandelstam (paying for it with his life) called "the hillman in the Kremlin the wide-chested Ossete."
"This museum has been twinned. There are two identical sections, completely and entirely alike in all respects. All the objects to be seen have been made in two sets, so that more visitors can be accommodated at the same time."
"For instance, the duck pond is not an ordinary duck pond but "the duck pond where Chairman Mao used to swim when he was a boy"; the meadow that appears to the ordinary visitor to be a common pasture is "the pasture to which Chairman Mao led the cows." And so on."
"Instead of our death-ghettoes, our corpse quarters, here the whole earth is a vast and welcoming cemetery."
"This is a good example of Chinese pragmatism: rather than have to write and rewrite the history of the party, according to purges and successive crises (as the Russians do), better not write it at all."
"As always, in China, individual thoughtfulness and subtlety victoriously counterbalance the stupidity and obscurantism of the system."
"Their conversations are suspect: they talk about gastronomy and fashions! ... these maneuvers go on until the day when Chen lays open their evil ways in a striking wall inscription entitled "What Is Concealed by Candy and Cigarettes."
"After the man-as-small-cog-in-the-machine (Lei Feng), here we have the man-as-match."
"Existentialism is an expression of the corrupt decadence and despairing pessimism of the monopolistic-bourgeois class in the imperialist period."
"such splendid orderliness"
"In cities one can still distinguish between four-pocket men in jeeps, four-pocket men in black limousines with curtains, and four-pocket men who have black limousines with curtains and a jeep in front."
"the outer darkness."
"The Peoples Daily may well give you the solution to a certain problem, but it also gives the opposite solution to the same problem at a different time."
"their denials are contradicted by reality."
"fat cows and lean cows follow each other in a seasonal rhythm."
"Sometimes a copy can be located in a Chinese bookshop, but then it is kept in a special glass case, locked of course, offered to the curious public somewhat like a two-headed calf pickled in formaldehyde and shown off in a glass bottle... Bookshops have completely changed their interior layout: they are now set up like pharmacies, with a counter between the customers and the shelves. On those shelves, which only attendants can reach, only a few dozen titles are displayed, and since the shop must appear to be full with even that scant choice, books are put flat on the shelves, in lines, with the same title endlessly repeated, like sardine cans or tins of peas in a supermarket."
"As for the writer, he is sitting on a melting iceberg; he is merely an anachronism, a hangover from the bourgeois age, as surely doomed as the hippopotamus." -- George Orwell
"In this field, I have assembled a long, dismaying, mind-boggling collection of anecdotes."
"We scrutinize slides of innumerable microscopes and simulate polite interest in the unintelligible swarming patterns."
"marked the twilight"
"(Note that since the beginning of the Revolution in Education students are not called "students" (xuesheng) anymore, but "studiers" (xueyuan), on the model of butcher, baker, candlestickmaker."
"...and the Papaoshan cemetery (which appears to be abandoned) still bears the marks of that violence. Many steles are pushed over and broken, some painted rod or smeared with tar, and pieces of stone are lying about on the ground."
"Dictionary of idees recues: applying Flaubert's method, one could compile and enormous volume of the expressions that make up the wooden language of Maoist ideology. The people's struggles are always "fearless" and "victorious." The Albanian, Vietnamese, etc., masses are always "heroic"; the Rumanians, Zambians, etc., are always "fraternal." In his public appearances, Mao always shows a "pink and radiant face," and the sigh of him invariable fills onlookers with "feelings of shining love and boundless enthusiasm." The Chinese Communist Party is, of course, "great, glorious, and infallible"; the class enemy, "ever watchful," must be exposed "without pity." The adversary's designs, always "shameful," must be opposed "resolutely"; his crimes are "odious and unforgivable." The successes of "building-up" of socialism are "prodigious," "immense," "always greater" (in case of failure, one speaks only of "new" or "growing" success)."
"The Red Guards were indignant that "red" could be used to mean "stop" in traffic-control procedures, and during the Cultural Revolution they suggested that signals be inverted; according to them, the revolutionary traffic should stop on the green, and proceed forward on the red."
"Still, under this too-perfect mimicry of a quiet provincial parish fifty years ago -- with paper flowers and painted plaster Sacred Hearts -- there lurks something murky, something perhaps even rather horrible."
"an acquired, deliberate ugliness, which becomes in some way shrill."
"Chou is the only member of China's ruling clique who has never taken advantage of his position to have his poems published. Think about it: it shows uncommon strength of character."
"Exoticism is not dead. At the turn of the century, during his dreamy Asiatic dilly-dallying, Pierre Loti was entranced by the sight of pale blobs, exquisitely fringed with purple, in the dark arch of a yamen; they turned out to be a string of cut-off human hands; the little girls, or boys, whom be bought here and there to while away the speen of an Oriental night amused him with their chatter of lovebirds and their painted faces reminiscent of dwarfs painted on folding screens."
I had no idea what was going on throughout this whole book. But it was vivid in its futuristic worlds.
"The eyes were vat-grown sea-green Nikon transpI had no idea what was going on throughout this whole book. But it was vivid in its futuristic worlds.
"The eyes were vat-grown sea-green Nikon transplants."
"A gardener, a thing like a large metal crab, was tending the bamboo."
"Summer in the Sprawl, the mall crowds swaying like wind-blown grass, a field of flesh shot through with sudden eddies of need and gratification."
"An enormous pile of old magazines had cascaded into the open area, flesh of lost summers staring blindly up as he followed her back through a narrow canyon of impacted scrap."
"'I'm the Finn,' said the Finn, and made a warning face at Case."
"Foam barricades. Lobby's getting juicy."
"Travel was a meat thing."
"At first glance it resembled the kind of graffiti student operators sometimes left at the junctions of grid lines, faint glyphs of colored light that shimmered against the confused outlines of a dozen arts faculties."
"The light from the rooftop vanished, leaning him with mismatched afterimages of muzzle-flash, monster, and white beam."
"Black iron deer rusted in the gardens of the Seraglio."
"They don't have climate, just weather."
"On his way back to the lobby, his cigarettes forgotten, he had to walk the length of the ranked phones. Each rang in turn, but only once, as he passed."
"Twenty minutes, then gravity came down on him like a great soft hand with bones of ancient stone."
"Sleep wouldn't come. When it did, it brought dreams that were like neatly edited segments of memory."
"The sky outside hinted at the start of a recorded dawn."
"Ice clinked against the side of a glass. Someone giggled. Someone else asked a whispered questions in Japanese."
"Where's the meat puppet?"
"He still had his anger. That was like being rolled in some alley and waking to discover your wallet still in your pocket, untouched."
"Black fur boiled at the borders of his vision."
"We have sealed ourselves away behind our money, growing inward, generating a seamless universe of self."
"The low, vaulted hallway was lined with dozens of museum cases, archaic-looking glass-fronted boxes made of brown wood. They looked awkward there, against the organic curves of the hallway's walls, as though they'd been brought in and set up in a line for some forgotten purpose."
"Like when you're young, you figure you're unique."
"Straylight reminded Case of deserted early morning shopping centers he'd known as a teenager, low-density places where the small hours brought a fitful stillness, a kind of numb expectancy, a tension that left you watching insects swarm around caged bulbs about the entrance of darkened shops."
"Playgrounds hung in space, castles hermetically sealed, the rarest rots of old Europa, dead men sealed in little boxes, magic out of China..."
"The doorway was low, narrow, doorless, and deep."
Very dated, very rambling, but not without its charm.
"when the mountains seem to a pilot to be wallowing in slim like exploded cannon on the decks ofVery dated, very rambling, but not without its charm.
"when the mountains seem to a pilot to be wallowing in slim like exploded cannon on the decks of an antique man-o'-war."
"You think the meadow empty, and suddenly bang! there are thirty sheep in your wheels."
"I was already nibbling the bitter pulp of night flight."
"Over the pools of water I could see great palms of wind running."
"As for the peasant, so for the pilot, dawn and twilight become events of consequence."
"When you saw a foul storm you said to yourself, 'Here is a foul storm.'"
"People extoll their contempt for death. But I would not give a fig for anybody's contempt for death."
"Time had to pass before men forgot what it was made of."
"Every machine will gradually take on this patina and lose its identity in its function."
"invisible ditches of air."
"the flight continues horizontal and rectilinear."
"I was in the wings of a theatre cluttered up with bits of scenery."
"I was a man who, carrying a pile of plates, had slipped on a waxed floor and let his scaffolding of porcelain crash."
"Still nothing pathetic to report."
"Then the wind's hand brushed the picture away."
"The marvel of marvels was that there on the rounded back of the planet, between this magnetic sheet and those stars, a human consciousness was present in which as in a mirror that rain could be reflected."
"...a silence like a trap, in which I fell asleep."
"Somewhere there was a park dark with firs and linden-trees and an old house that I loved."
"Here everything was in a state of decay, but adorably so, like and old oak covered with moss and split in places with age, like a wooden bench on which generations of lovers had come to sit and which had grown sacred."
"For the first time since I was born it seemed to me that my life was my own and that I was responsible for it."
"I got into my harness, snapped my emergency lamps to my belt along with my altimeter and my pencils."
"The wireless astonished them less than the telephone since the mystery of the telephone resided in the very fact of the wire."
"But I knew them well, my barbarians."
"...it was as if men were rigging an invisible ship."
"...the day is a voyage towards the goal of evening."
"We were crossing the great dark valley of a fairy-tale, the Valley of Ordeal."
"Just the same, I did not like the sinister glitter of a one-eyed grog-shop."
"My weariness wrapped me round like a multiple presence."
"We moved in a maze of uncertainty. Yet what space, what air between movements!"
"Life has taught that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction."
"The sleeping cars were empty. The first-class carriages were empty. They put me in mind of the luxurious hotels on the Riviera that open in winter for a single guest, the last representative of an extinct fauna."...more