The Sea Quotes

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The Sea The Sea by John Banville
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The Sea Quotes Showing 1-30 of 67
“The past beats inside me like a second heart.”
John Banville, The Sea
“We carry the dead with us only until we die too, and then it is we who are borne along for a little while, and then our bearers in their turn drop, and so on into the unimaginable generations.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Happiness was different in childhood. It was so much then a matter simply of accumulation, of taking things - new experiences, new emotions - and applying them like so many polished tiles to what would someday be the marvellously finished pavilion of the self.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Perhaps all of life is no more than a long preparation for the leaving of it.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Life, authentic life, is supposed to be all struggle, unflagging action and affirmation, the will butting its blunt head against the world's wall, suchlike, but when I look back I see that the greater part of my energies was always given over to the simple search for shelter, for comfort, for, yes, I admit it, for cosiness. This is a surprising, not to say shocking, realisation. Before, I saw myself as something of a buccaneer, facing all-comers with a cutlass in my teeth, but now I am compelled to acknowledge that this was a delusion. To be concealed, protected, guarded, that is all I have ever truly ever wanted, to burrow down into a place of womby warmth and cower there, hidden from the sky's indifferent gaze and the air's harsh damagings. That is why the past is just such a retreat for me, I go there eagerly, rubbing my hands and shaking off the cold present and the colder future. And yet, what existence, really, does it have, the past? After all, it is only what the present was, once, the present that is gone, no more than that. And yet.”
John Banville, The Sea
“There are times, they occur with increasing frequency nowadays, when I seem to know nothing, when everything I know seems to have fallen out of my mind like a shower of rain, and I am gripped for a moment in paralysed dismay, waiting for it all to come back but with no certainty that it will.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Given the world that he created, it would be an impiety against God to believe in him.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Yes, this is what I thought adulthood would be, a kind of long indian summer, a state of tranquility, of calm incuriousness, with nothing left of the barely bearable raw immediacy of childhood, all the things solved that had puzzled me when I was small, all mysteries settled, all questions answered, and the moments dripping away, unnoticed almost, drip by golden drip, toward the final, almost unnoticed, quietus.”
John Banville, The Sea
tags: aging
“These days I must take the world in small and carefully measured doses. It is a sort of homeopathic cure I am undergoing, though I am not certain what this cure is meant to mend. Perhaps I am learning to live amongst the living again. Practising, I mean. But no, that is not it. Being here is just a way of not being anywhere.”
John Banville, The Sea
“I was thinking of Anna. I make myself think of her, I do it as an exercise. She is lodged in me like a knife and yet I am beginning to forget her. Already the image of her that I hold in my head is fraying, bits of pigments, flakes of gold leaf, are chipping off. Will the entire canvas be empty one day? I have come to realise how little I knew her, I mean how shallowly I knew her, how ineptly. I do not blame myself for this. Perhaps I should. Was I too lazy, too inattentive, too self-absorbed? Yes, all of those things, and yet I cannot think it is a matter of blame, this forgetting, this not-having-known. I fancy, rather, that I expected too much, in the way of knowing. I know so little of myself, how should I think to know another?”
John Banville, The Sea
“I think I am becoming my own ghost.”
John Banville, The Sea
“And indeed nothing had happened, a momentous nothing, just another of the great world's shrugs of indifference.”
John Banville, The Sea
“We did our best, Anna and I. We forgave each other for all we were not.”
John Banville, The Sea
“The tea-bag is a vile invention suggestive to my perhaps overly squeamish eye of something a careless person might leave behind unflushed in the lavatory.”
John Banville, The Sea
“And incredulity, that too was a large part of being happy. I mean that euphoric inability fully to believe in one’s own simple luck. There I was, suddenly, with a girl in my arms, figuratively, at least, doing the things that grown-ups did, holding her hand, and kissing her in the dark, and, when the picture had ended, standing aside, clearing my throat in grave politeness, to allow her to pass ahead of me under the heavy curtain and through the doorway out into the rain-washed sunlight of the summer evening. I was myself and at the same time someone else, someone completely other, completely new.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Although it was autumn and not summer the dark-gold sunlight and the inky shadows, long and slender in the shape of felled cypresses, were the same, and there was the same sense of everything drenched and jewelled and the same ultramarine glitter on the sea. I felt inexplicably lightened; it was as if the evening, in all the drench and drip of its fallacious pathos, had temporarily taken over from me the burden of grieving.”
John Banville, The Sea
“What is money, after all? Almost nothing, when one has a sufficiency of it.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Life, authentic life, is supposed to be all struggle, unflagging action and affirmation, but when I look back I see that the greater part of my energies was always given over to the simple search for shelter, for comfort, for, yes, I admit it, for cosiness. This is a surprising, not to say a shocking, realization. Before, I saw myself as something of a buccaneer, facing all-comers with a cutlass in my teeth, but now I am compelled to acknowledge that this was a delusion. To be concealed, protected, guarded, that is all I have truly wanted, to burrow down into a place of womby warmth and cower there, hidden from the sky’s indifferent gaze and the harsh air’s damagings. That is why the past is just such a retreat for me, I go there eagerly, rubbing my hands and shaking off the cold present and the colder future. And yet, what existence, really, does it have, the past? After all, it is only what the present was, once, the present that is gone, no more than that. And yet.”
John Banville, The Sea
“It was a sumptuous, oh, truly sumptuous autumn day, all Byzantine coppers and golds under a Tiepolo sky of enamelled blue, the countryside all fixed and glassy, seeming not so much itself as its own reflection in the still surface of the lake. It was the kind of day on which, latterly, the sun for me is the world’s fat eye looking on in rich enjoyment as I writhe in misery.”
John Banville, The Sea
“I was always a distinct no-one, whose fiercest wish was to be an indistinct someone.”
John Banville, The Sea
“If that child dreaming by the wireless had been asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, what I had become was more or less what he would have described, in however halting a fashion, I am sure of it. This is remarkable, I think, even allowing for my present sorrows. Are not the majority of men disappointed with their lot, languishing in quiet desperation in their chains?”
John Banville, The Sea
“I too could go, oh, yes, at a moment’s notice I could go and be as though I had not been, except that the long habit of living indisposeth me for dying,”
John Banville, The Sea
“From earliest days I wanted to be someone else. The injunction nosce te ipsum had an ashen taste on my tongue from the first time a teacher enjoined me to repeat it after him. I knew myself, all too well, and did not like what I knew. Again, I must qualify. It was not what I was that I disliked, I mean the singular, essential me—although I grant that even the notion of an essential, singular self is problematic—but the congeries of affects, inclinations, received ideas, class tics, that my birth and upbringing had bestowed on me in place of a personality. In place of, yes. I never had a personality, not in the way that others have, or think they have. I was always a distinct no-one, whose fiercest wish was to be an indistinct someone, I know what I mean.”
John Banville, The Sea
“I have ever had the conviction, resistant to all rational considerations, that at some unspecified future moment the continuous rehearsal which is my life, with its so many misreadings, is slips and fluffs, will be done with and that the real drama for which I have ever and with earnestness been preparing will at last begin. It is a common delusion... Yet I anticipate an apotheosis of some kind, some grand climacteric. I am not speaking here of a posthumous transfiguration. I do not entertain the possibility of an afterlife, or any deity capable of offering it. Given the world that he created, it would be an impiety against God to believe in him.”
John Banville, The Sea
“... защото спомените много държат да съответстват напълно и безпогрешно на отново посетените места и неща от миналото.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Двамата бяха близнаци...
когато се престраших да помоля Хлое да ми разкаже съвсем откровено, защото много исках да узная как се чувства човек , какво представлява това състояние на неизбежна близост ... тя се замисли за миг ...
- Като два магнита - така каза, - но откъм обратната страна, привличат се и се отблъскват.”
John Banville, The Sea
“It was not a wave but a smooth rolling swell that seemed to come up from the deeps, as if something vast down there had stirred itself.”
John Banville, The Sea
“Happiness was different in childhood. It was so much more than a matter simply of accumulation, of taking things - new experiences, new emotions - and applying them like so many polished tiles to what would someday be the marvellously finished pavilion of the self.”
John Banville, The Sea
“There was a time when I quite liked what I saw in the looking-glass, but not anymore. Now I’m startled, and more than startled, by the visage that so abruptly appears there, never at all the one that I expect. I have been elbowed aside by a parody of myself, a sadly dishevelled figure in a Halloween mask made of sagging, pinkish- grey rubber that bears no more than a passing resemblance to the image of what I look like that I stubbornly retain in my head.”
John Banville, The Sea
“How is it that in childhood everything new that caught my interest had an aura of the uncanny, since according to all the authorities the uncanny is not some new thing but a thing known returning in a different form, become a revenant?”
John Banville, The Sea

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