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Helen Simonson quotes Showing 1-30 of 154

“Life does often get in the way of one's reading.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“You are a wise man, Major, and I will consider your advice with great care—and humility." He finished his tea and rose from the table to go to his room. "But I must ask you, do you really understand what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman?"

"My dear boy," said the Major. "Is there really any other kind?”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“It surprised him that his grief was sharper than in the past few days. He had forgotten that grief does not decline in a straight line or along a slow curve like a graph in a child's math book. Instead, it was almost as if his body contained a big pile of garden rubbish full both of heavy lumps of dirt and of sharp thorny brush that would stab him when he least expected it.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“The world is full of small ignorances. We must all do our best to ignore them and thereby keep them small, don't you think”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“Only sometimes when we pick and choose among the rules we discover later that we have set aside something precious in the process.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“...I tell myself it does not matter what one reads--favorite authors, particular themes--as long as we read something. It is not even important to own the books.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“I believe there is a great deal too much mutual confession going on today, as if sharing one’s problems somehow makes them go away. All it really does, of course, is increase the number of people who have to worry about a particular issue.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“He opened his mouth to say that she looked extremely beautiful and deserved armfuls of roses, but the words were lost in committee somewhere, shuffled aside by the parts of his head that worked full-time at avoiding ridicule.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“Oh, it's simple pragmatism, Dad. It's called the real world. If we refused to do business with the morally questionable, the deal volume would drop in half and the good guys like us would end up poor. Then where would we all be?" said Roger. "On a nice dry spit of land know as the moral high ground?" suggested the Major.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“You are not the first man to miss a woman's more subtle communication . . . They think they are waving when we see only the calm sea, and pretty soon everybody drowns.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“But it's not enough to be in love. It's about how you spend your days, what you do together, who you choose as friends, and most of all it's what work you do ... Better to break both our hearts now than watch them wither away over time.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“Unlike you, who must do a cost-benefit analysis of every human interaction," he said, "I have no idea what I hope to accomplish. I only know that I must try to see her. That's what love is about, Roger. It's when a woman drives all lucid thought from your head; when you are unable to contrive romantic stratagems, and the usual manipulations fail you; when all your carefully laid plans have no meaning and all you can do is stand mute in her presence. You hope she takes pity on you and drops a few words of kindness into the vacuum of your mind.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“Men these days expect their wives to be as dazzling as their mistresses.”

That's shocking," said the Major. "How on earth will they tell them apart?”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
tags: humor
“Passion is all very well, but it wouldn't do to spill the tea.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“I know something of shame [...] How can we not all feel it? We are all small-minded people, creeping about the earth grubbing for our own advantage and making the very mistakes for which we want to humiliate our neighbors. [...] I think we wake up every day with high intentions and by dusk we have routinely fallen short. Sometimes I think God created the darkness just so he didn't have to look at us all the time.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“...as I get older, I find myself insisting on my right to be philosophically sloppy.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“I don't believe the greatest views in the world are great because they are vast or exotic,' she said. 'I think their power comes from the knowledge that they do not change. You look at them and you know they have been the same for a thousand years.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“I am to be converted to the joys of knitting,' said Mrs. Ali, smiling at the Major.
'My condolences,' he said.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“He cursed himself for having assumed the weather would be sunny. Perhaps it was the result of evolution, he thought--some adaptive gene that allowed the English to go on making blithe outdoor plans in the face of almost certain rain.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“Ah well, there you go. Young people are always demanding respect instead of trying to earn it. In my day, respect was something to strive for. Something to be given, not taken." Major Pettigrew”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“We are all small-minded people, creeping about the earth grubbing for our own advantage and making the very mistakes for which we want to humiliate our neighbors.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“America wielded her huge power in the world with a brash confidence that reminded him of a toddler who has got hold of a hammer.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“The human race is all the same when it comes to romantic relations,' said the Major. 'A startling absence of impulse control combined with complete myopia.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“It's so much easier to tell other people how to do their job than fix one's own shortcoming, isn't it?”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“I later realized that this is my view of passion: It is rooted in genuine friendship. Chemistry may be two strangers exchanging smoldering looks—but passion has to be able to survive at least a twenty-minute conversation!”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“They sat a moment in embrace of silent mutual comfort, which was, she often thought, the reward of those long married.”
Helen Simonson, The Summer Before the War
“It was an old story so rubbed with retelling that the edges were blurry.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“And after all, everyone needs a few flaws to make them real.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“Such an awful fragility of love he thought that plans are made and broken and remade in these gaps between rational behavior.”
Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
“Most of all I remember that what begins with drums and fife, flags and bunting, becomes too swiftly a long and grey winter of the spirit.”
Helen Simonson, The Summer Before the War
tags: war

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