Nicholas's Reviews > The Harder They Fall

The Harder They Fall by Budd Schulberg
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's review
Oct 23, 2008

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bookshelves: lifestyle
Read in October, 2008

** spoiler alert ** Not nearly as good as What Makes Sammy Run.


"Successful Harry Miniffs, pushing their way to the top of steel institutes, oil combines, film studios, fight monopolies; and unsuccessful Harry Miniffs, born with the will but not the knack to catch up with the high dollar that keeps tempting them on like a mechanical rabbit which the whippet can't catch unless the machine breaks down, and can't eat if it does."

"Damn it, I was making a living, I wasn't robbing anybody; the lies I told were just ordinary American business lies like everybody else's lies."

"As a young man he had been full of a bubbling, imaginative gaiety, but it seemed to me as he talked that this had been replaced by a nervous animation."

"All I need is jus' one good credit, an' some o' this gold. I need more gold, Eddie, and then I'll-go to Mexico, six months, maybe a year, rediscover my soul, Eddie.
But Dave, I can't figure it. You've been making big dough for years. You must have enough...
This isn't dough. Dough sticks to your palms. This is a handful of worms that slip through your fingers."

"I never realized before that jealousy was something you could actually feel in your belly like a green and indigestible apple."

"But time is all turned around in Wolgast's head. For two or three seconds in his life he had a glimpse of glory, and down through the shabby years of obscurity, those precious drops of time have grown and grown until they have blotted out the rest of his memory."

"Some day, if I played my cards right, things would be different."

"All right, Eddie. Get all the nickles you can. Keep on kidding yourself."

"A playboy in my book is not the carefree, luxury-loving character that word usually calls to mind. It is someone trying to escape from the neurotic riptide of an over-abundance of money and an insufficiency of responsibility."

"There shines my conscience, I thought, one small compartment in this great edifice of darkness. And as I watched it, in a kind of hateful reverence, it suddenly went out."

"All of you. What did Toro mean, all of you? He must have me mixed up with the others. I was Toro's friend, the only one who cared, the only one who sympathized. And yet, he had said all. He had said all of you."

"All I had written was the first act of a bad play. Just twenty-three pages of a play that was going back into the bottom drawer of my trunk, where it belonged."

"I know the goddam trouble with me, I thought. Enough brains to see it and not enough guts to stand up to it. Thousands of us, millions of us, corrupted, rootless, career-ridden, good hearts and yellow bellies, living out our lives for the easy buck, the soft berth, indulging ourselves in the illusion that we can deal in filth without becoming the thing we touch."

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