"...when he was young, he had never imagined the pain that loss would bring..." (6). “ ‘You look as though you’ve seen a ghost, sir.’ ‘It’s the living I...more"...when he was young, he had never imagined the pain that loss would bring..." (6). “ ‘You look as though you’ve seen a ghost, sir.’ ‘It’s the living I’ve been looking at,’ he said” (36). “…the dilemma of a woman brought up in a free-thinking family which confined its free thought to conversation and remained respectable and conformist in every other way” (59). “Both he and his sister would die childless: what they owned was theirs only while they lived. There would be no direct heirs. They had both recoiled from engagements, deep companionship, the warmth of love. They had never wanted it” (62). "His terrace, he thought, was as amiable as a person, perhaps even more so" (82). “ ‘Perhaps it is the sort of room which benefits from its inhabitants remaining outdoors,’ Henry said” (90). “He wondered at how, every day, as they moved around each other, each of them had stored away an entirely private world to which they could return at the sound of a name, or for no reason at all” (100). “The walls of the house had witnessed men and women come and go for almost three hundred years; now it had invited him to sample briefly its charm, it had enticed him here and offered him its unlasting hospitality” (125).
*I shall finish this book, but I'm finding it rather boring: too much minutiae. I realize some may say the same of James, though I have not found him boring. The sequencing of the events is also odd and erratic.
"...but they were interrupted by the arrival of Maud Elliott who began to allude to the friendship between them. She came from a distinguished family of alluders, he thought..." (276). "'That was always mother's dream for us,' Henry said. 'That we would end up in England?' William asked. 'No,' Henry said, smiling. 'She always dreamed that we would, each of us, sit enjoying our books while she and Autn Kate did their work, that there would not be a sound for hours but the turning of pages'" (335-336). "...and it came to him that Wiiliam had always been thus, impatient, ready for novelty, longing for new adventures, even if it were just leaving one room to go into another, or standing when he had just been sitting. When they were small, he would turn the page of the picture book, before Henry had time to absorb fully each illustration, and then then refuse to go back; eventually he would tire of even the picture book and want to go outdoors, leaving henry free to start the book again alone and study it in peace..." (338).(less)
"Nothing was merely itself any longer; it all reminded him of something long gone or of everything that was going" (17). "Life was as unthinkable for S...more"Nothing was merely itself any longer; it all reminded him of something long gone or of everything that was going" (17). "Life was as unthinkable for Sabbath without the successful innkeeper's promiscuous wife as it was for her without the remorseless puppeteer" (19). "...Sabbath was reassured that not even a simple guy like Gus was free of the human need to find a strand of significance that will hold together everything that isn't on TV" (38). "The allure of a heavily muscled male figure conventionally clothed for social intercourse. An animalistic appearance under the elegance" (41). “He is survived by the ghost of his mother, Yetta, of Beth Something-or-other Cemetery, Neptune, New Jersey, who haunted him unceasingly during the last year of his life. His brother, Lieutenant Morton Sabbath, was shot down over the Philippines during the Second World War. Yetta Sabbath never got over it. It is from his mother that Mr. Sabbath inherited his own ability never to get over anything” (195). “So what if he has led a stupid life? Anyone with any brains knows that he is leading a stupid life even while he is leading it. Anyone with any brains understands that he is destined to lead a stupid life because there is no other kind” (204). “ ‘Harrassment? I have been Virgil to your Dante in the sexual underworld!’” (237). “This was the order Nikki made out of her chaos. And you, what is the order you make of yours?” (242). “Puppets can fly, levitate, twirl, but only people and marionettes always bored him: all that walking they were always doing up and down the tiny stage, as though, in addition to being the subject of every marionette show, walking were the major them of life” (244). “Yes, yes, yes, he felt uncontrollable tenderness for his own shit-filled life. And a laughable hunger for more. More defeat! More disappointment! More deceit! More loneliness! More arthritis! More missionaries! God willing, more cunt! More disastrous entanglement in everything. For a pure sense of being tumultuously alive, you can’t beat the nasty side of existence. I may not have been a matinee idol, but say what you will about me, it’s been a real human life!” (247). " 'The great god Pan is dead,' a deadpan Sabbath informed him" (275). "Madeline displayed the bright sadder-but-wiser outlook of an alert first grader who'd discovered the alphabet in a school where Ecclesiastes is the primer--life is futility, a deeply terrible experience, but the really serious thing is reading" (290-291). "New England's spring, that surprise that is among the greatest reinvigorators of humankind on record" 294). "Everything passes? Nothing passes" (298). “The box that never failed to impress. Whatever your age, the sight of that box never lost its power. One of us takes up no more room than that. You can store us like shoes or ship us like lettuce” (308-309). “Norman’s robe, a colorful full-length velour robe with a belt long enough to hang himself…” (331). “ ‘I learned early on that people seem more easily to pass over how short I am when I am linguistically large’” (331). “He was under the spell of the tempter whose task it is to pump the hormone preposterone into the male bloodstream” (337). “In the masterpieces they’re always killing themselves when they commit adultery. He wanted to kill himself when he couldn’t” (337). "What a great job. I still sometimes dream about that job. You got paid to shout 'Bananas!'" (368). "But what affords the one with happiness affords the other with disgust. The interplay, the ridiculous interplay, enough to kill all and everyone" (370). "Rapture itself, to reach out my hand and give him a laugh, a body, a voice, a life with some of the fun in it of being alive, the fun of existing that even a flea must feel, the pleasure of existence, pure and simple, that practically anyone this side of the cancer ward gets a glimmer of occasionally, uninspiring as his fortunes overall may be" (377). "He got out of the car, and, grasping a railing that looked to be adhering to the steps by nothing more solid than a thought, he made his way to the door" (378). "We are immoderate because grief is immoderate, all the hundreds of thousands of kinds of griefs" (407). (less)
“There. There was the day, all tidy like a drawer freshly arranged” (23). “ ‘Good morning, Mrs. Hutchens. Sleep well?’ ‘I should think it bad management...more“There. There was the day, all tidy like a drawer freshly arranged” (23). “ ‘Good morning, Mrs. Hutchens. Sleep well?’ ‘I should think it bad management…not to’” (23). “ ‘Charm can be a very bad substitute for character’” (30). “She had never seen him, even fully dressed, without feeling his masculinity like a violence” (35). “He had the look of one whose enormous virility could beget and forget children with the same casualness” (36). “ ‘Listen, I pay you the compliment of thinking you’re not stupid’” (39). “For a moment she stood frowning, caught in the past as a woman is caught who steps into a grating with a spike heel” (42). “Her head felt stuffed, the way a trophy head might feel after it had been cut off and its bones removed and its shape filled out with hot sand” (49). “Closing the door, she felt that she imprisoned herself beyond hope in gloomy rooms, an Emily Dickinson without a gift” (49). “…and went down the stairs past the glower of the generations” (145). “A smell of outraged cereal arose” (205). “She thought a little wildly that he looked like Woodrow Wilson about to scold someone” (222). “Good God, Leonard thought, are we going to have him? I’ll eat windfall prunes in the orchard first” (240). **Wow. I want to use this one. Copiously. To an obnoxious point, I mean. “Around him she always felt as if she were wearing loose clothes around a lot of factory wheels” (296). “What a sneaky thing the mind was, how it could twist and turn, looking for any roadside where the garbage of blame could be thrown” (397).
The book had its good points, but Sabrina Castro, the main character, was so utterly unlikeable, it was difficult to care about her "problems."
“One of the most difficult things to say to another person is I hope you will love me. Yet that is what we all want to say to one another—to our child...more“One of the most difficult things to say to another person is I hope you will love me. Yet that is what we all want to say to one another—to our children, to our parents and mates, to our friends and even to strangers” (36). “…walked straight down the hill from the eighteenth-century brick dormitories and classroom buildings to the wide boulevard below, where huge, neoclassical fraternity houses lounged beneath high, ancient elms” (50). “…and she was wailing, a high, unbroken keening sort of sound, as if she were an old Greek woman who’d been told her favorite son was dead” (126). “Three left. If I didn’t open a fresh one now, he’d get two and I’d get one. But then I’d have two warm beers instead of one cold one. Hard to choose” (126). “…their pleasant faces glance, as instructed slightly off camera and down to the right, as if they are trying to remember the name of the capital of Montana” (151).
"I am scared to think of what would happen if we had to choose among ourselves who would stay on the boat and who should dies. Given the choice to mak...more"I am scared to think of what would happen if we had to choose among ourselves who would stay on the boat and who should dies. Given the choice to make a decision like that, we would all act like vultures, including me" (18). “Shadows shrink and spread over the lace curtain as my son slips into bed. I watch as he stretches from a little boy into the broom-size of a man, his height mounting the innocent fabric that splits our one-room house into two spaces, two mats, two worlds” (83). “Her head fell back like any other infant’s. I held out my hand let her three matted braids tickle the lifelines in my hand” (96). (less)
*Really 3.5 stars. “…and carpet stepped neatly down the stairs” (25-26). “…the street lamps already spilling splashes of light on to rain-polished stree...more*Really 3.5 stars. “…and carpet stepped neatly down the stairs” (25-26). “…the street lamps already spilling splashes of light on to rain-polished streets…” (47). "He looked at their clothes, spread out across the room like stepping stones" (124). “Half a dozen pairs of mislaid spectacles, gazing blindly up at them from beneath magazines, cushions, handbags” (227).(less)
“…the crew would be thinking of hot coffee fierce with chicory…” (4). “Adults were always throwing things out. That was clearly one of the big differen...more“…the crew would be thinking of hot coffee fierce with chicory…” (4). “Adults were always throwing things out. That was clearly one of the big differences. Children liked keeping things” (8). “ ‘That’s one of the funny things you notice. You can’t get better without experience, but it’s while you’re getting the experience that you’re most likely to get knocked down. It’s always the youngest chaps that you might not see again at the end of an op. So as the war goes on, what happens in a squadron is that the old get older and the young get younger. Then some of the old ones get pulled out because they’re too valuable to lose, and you end up less experienced than you started off’” (31). “ ‘But you’re supposed to be the hunter who ever dreams of coming unawares upon Diana in the woodlands’” (43). *Man, I’d like to have to say that. “ ‘Old wives know a thing or two.’ He chuckled. ‘Ask mine’” (51). “He held her there for a while, in the soft cage of his hands” (63). “Saturday and Wednesday, she said to herself, on Saturday and Wednesday we shall be spontaneous” (64).“She missed…somebody, she didn’t know who” (90-91). “The Western voices were beginning to be recognizable: they belonged to a young couple, brash and rather too recently married for the general comfort of the tour” (91). “…a eucalyptus-leaf pattern raged across the bedspread…” (95). “She wondered why mosquitoes didn’t give up on victims who had reached a certain age, and hunt for younger flesh instead; as men did” (95). “How could you feel the dulcet consolation of nature’s cycle as you sat there with your shoes off, unable to see out, with your frightened eye everywhere assailed by garish seat covers? The surrounding were simply not up to it” (97). “ ‘Derek wasn’t against, anyway. But what I say is, Tommy’s got his little place in my heart, what does he want a place in my attic as well for?’” (103). “People said that travel broadened the mind. Gregory didn’t believe this. What it did was give the illusion of broadening the mind. For Gregory, what broadened the mind was staying at home” (112). “Perhaps bravery was a matter of doing the obvious when other people saw it as unobvious” (129). “You grew old first not in your own eyes, but in other people’s eyes; then, slowly, you agreed with their opinion of you” (141). "People said that an insurance salesman without a policy was like a vegetarian butcher. The joke didn't deter him. He would nod and think to himself that there was logic in being a vegetarian butcher: if you spent your day cutting up animals, you might well not want to go home and eat them for dinner. Even if you got a cut rate on your cut meat" (144). “Sometimes this silo of knowledge could be very curmudgeonly with its grain” (150). “ ‘Is it true that man is the only animal capable of suicide?’ ‘YES. LEMMINGS ARE DISQUALIFIED’” (180). “Gregory longed to be cuffed with certainty” (181). “For the most part people live close to the wonders of their life without much realizing it; they are like peasants living beside some fine, familiar monument who look on it only as a quarry” (183). “Most people expected their lives to be full of tunes; they thought existence unrolled like a melody; they wanted—and believed they saw—statement, development, recapitulation, a neat if necessary climax, and so on. These longings struck Gregory as naïve. He expected only scraps of tunes; when a phrase returned he acknowledged the repetition, but ascribed it to chance rather than his own virtue, while melodies, he knew, always ran away” (185). “Suicide was pointless because life was so short; the tragedy of life was its brevity, not its emptiness” (188).
"Every case posed implicit questions about the individual costs of the war...(115).
"Ranged at intervals around the walls, big heavy pieces of furnitur...more"Every case posed implicit questions about the individual costs of the war...(115).
"Ranged at intervals around the walls, big heavy pieces of furniture squatted on their own shadows" (153).
"...the relationship between father and son is never simple and never over. Death certainly doesn't end it. In the past year he'd thought more about his father than he'd done since he was a child" (155-156).
"The sea was almost inaudible, a toothless mouth mumbling pebbles in the darkness" (167).
"All these tings must have been brought here, or collected here, summer by summer, and then outgrown, but never thrown away, so that the room had become a sort of palimpsest of the young life it contained" (181).
"This reinforced Rivers's view that it was prolonged strain, immobility and helplessness that did the damage, and not the sudden shocks or bizarre horrors that the patients themselves were inclined to point to as the explanation for their condition. That would help to account for the greater prevalence of anxiety neuroses and hysterical disorders in women in peacetime, since their relatively more confined lives gave them fewer opportunities of reacting to stress in active and constructive ways. Any explanation of war neurosis must account for the fact that this apparently intensely masculine life of war and danger and hardship produced in men the same disorders that women suffered from in peace" (222).(less)
"When finally he'd heard enough of that, he repeated to them something he vaguely remembered Chuck Close's having said in an interview: amateurs look...more"When finally he'd heard enough of that, he repeated to them something he vaguely remembered Chuck Close's having said in an interview: amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work" (82). "It's because it is for her as it is for everyone. It's because life's most disturbing intensity is death. It's because death is so unjust. It's because once one has tasted life, death does not even seem natural" (169).
*This book clearly outlines what it is to exist for anyone, how we face life knowing non-being lies in wait.(less)