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The Rachel Papers The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis
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The Rachel Papers Quotes (showing 1-22 of 22)
“Don't I ever do anything else but take soulful walks down the Bayswater Road, I thought, as I walked soulfully down the Baywater Road.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Impartially, shrewdly, I considered suicide, though not in my worst moments. The bottle of pills. The note: 'No hard feelings, everyone, but I've thought about it and it's just not on, is it? It's nearly on, but not quite. No? Anyway, all the best, C.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“The thing is that I am a member of that sad, ever-dwindling minority... the child of an unbroken home. I have carried this albatross since the age of eleven, when I started at grammar school. Not a day would pass without somebody I knew turning out to be adopted or illegitimate, or to have mothers who were about to hare off with some bloke, or to have dead fathers and shabby stepfathers. What busy lives they led. How I envied their excuses for introspection, their ear-marked receptacles for every just antagonism and noble loyalty.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“[On STDs] This be Nature’s way of recommending monogamy.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“This had seemed a safe choice, since to be against the Beatles (late-middle period) is to be against life.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“In my world, reserved Italians, heterosexual hairdressers, clouds without silver linings, ignoble savages, hard-hearted whores, advantageous ill-winds, sober Irishmen, and so on, are not permitted to exist.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“She didn't use the misery of others to cultivate her own smugness, true, but at least I didn't go about eating all their food.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“You don't have problems, only a capacity for feeling anxious about them, which shifts and jostles but doesn't change.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Since Henry Miller's Tropic books, of course, it has become difficult to talk sensibly about girls' c*nts.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Take a look at the scaly witches round your local shopping center, many of them with children. Grim enough with their clothes on. Imagine them naked! Snatches that yo-yo between their knees, breasts so flaccid you could tie them in a knot. One would have to be literally galvanized on Spanish Fly even to consider it. Yet it gets done somehow. Look at the kids. — The teenager may be more spontaneous, doglike, etc., but it’s generally only another name on the list, only another notch on the cock.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“And quite right too. Thinking back, actually, 'self-infatuation' strikes me as a rather ill-chosen word. It isn't so much that I like or love myself. Rather, I'm sentimental about myself. (I say, is this normal for someone my age?) What do I think of Charles Highway? I think: 'Charles Highway? Oh, I like him. Yes, I've got a soft spot for old Charles. He's all right is Charlie. Chuck's ... okay.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Why couldn't Rachel be a little more specific about the type of person she was? Goodness knew; if she were a hippie I'd talk to her about her drug experiences, the zodiac, tarot cards. If she were left-wing I'd look miserable, hate Greece, and eat baked beans straight from the tin. If she were the sporty type I'd play her at... chess and backgammon and things.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“As regards structure, comedy has come a long way since Shakespeare, who in his festive conclusions could pair off any old shit and any old fudge-brained slag (see Claudio and Hero in Much Ado) and get away with it. But the final kiss no longer symbolizes anything and well-oiled nuptials have ceased to be a plausible image of desire. That kiss is now the beginning of the comic action, not the end that promises another beginning from which the audience is prepared to exclude itself. All right? We have got into the habit of going further and further beyond the happy-ever-more promise: relationships in decay, aftermaths, but with everyone being told a thing or two about themselves, busy learning from their mistakes. So, in the following phase, with the obstructive elements out of the way (DeForest, Gloria) and the consummation in sight, the comic action would have been due to end, happily. But who is going to believe that any more?”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“And I felt next to nothing as I walked to the village; I paid my respects to the countryside yet was unable to detect solemn sympathy in its quiet or reproach in its stillness. Usually that road brought me miles of footage from the past: the bright-faced ten-year-old running for the Oxford bus; the lardy pubescent, out on soul-rambles (i.e. sulks), or off for a wank in the woods; the youth, handsomely reading Tennyson on summer evenings, or trying to kill birds with feeble, rusted slug-guns, or behind the hedge smoking fags with Geoffrey, then hawking in the ditch. But now I strode it vacantly, my childhood nowhere to be found.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“And there was something that frightened me much more. If I went to the doctor's tomorrow, and was cured by, say, the weekend, there'd be no relief from anxiety, just different anxiety. Even as the antibiotics hosed down my genitals, the mind's bacteria would be forming new armies. I'd come up with something to get me down...

Was this the case with everyone -- everyone, that is, who wasn't already a thalidomide baked-bean, or a gangrenous imbecile, or degradingly poor, or irretrievably ugly, and would therefore have pretty obvious targets for their worries? If so, the notion of 'having problems' -- or 'having a harder life than most people', or 'having a harder life than you usually had' -- was spurious. You don't have problems, only a capacity for feeling anxious about them, which shifts and jostles but doesn't change.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Marriage is always something of a compromise, as I'm sure you're now aware. Any long-term relationship is - and one does have to see it in the long term, Charles. No, I expect your mother and myself will never divorce. It's uneconomic and, at my age, usually unnecessary.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“So I am nineteen years old and don’t usually know what I’m doing, snap my thoughts out of the printed page, get my looks from other eyes, do not overtake dotards and cripples in the street for fear I will depress them with my agility, love watching children and animals at play but wouldn’t mind seeing a beggar kicked or a little girl run over because it’s all experience, dislike myself and sneer at a world less nice and less intelligent than me. I take it this is fairly routine?”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Erections, as we all know, come to the teenager on a plate.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Sex was like Disneyland to her: an allotment of organized wonders and legal mischief.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“If you want a couple of weeks in bed (as I did, bi-annually), and if you have indolent and credulous parents, it’s amazing what a few packs of French cigarettes will do.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Love seeketh not itself to please, Nor for itself hath any care, But for another gives its ease, And builds a heaven in Hell’s despair.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers
“Love seeketh only self to please, To bind another to its delight, Joys in another’s loss of ease, And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite.”
Martin Amis, The Rachel Papers

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