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Joseph Conrad
“Whether he knew of this deficiency himself I can't say. I think the knowledge came to him at last--only at the very last. But the wilderness found him out early, and had taken vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude--and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core”
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Stella Gibbons
“She liked Victorian novels. They were the only kind of novel you could read while eating an apple.”
Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm

Sebastian Faulks
“He saw a picture in his mind of a terrible piling up of the dead. It came from his contemplation of the church, but it had its own clarity: the row on row, the deep rotting earth hollowed out to hold them, while the efforts of the living, with all their works and wars and great buildings, were no more than the beat of a wing against the weight of time.”
Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War

Tim O'Brien
“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.”
Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
tags: war

Mark Helprin
“The shelf was filled with books that were hard to read, that could devastate and remake one's soul, and that, when they were finished, had a kick like a mule.”
Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale

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year in books
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