Peter Carey

To know you will be lonely is not the same as being lonely.

You could not tell a story like this. A story like this you could only feel.

People do not love those whose eyes show that they are somewhere else.

If you ever read one of my books I hope you'll think it looks so easy. In fact, I wrote those chapters 20 times over, and over, and over, and that if you want to write at a good level, you'll have to do that too.

I have traveled widely. I have seen this country in its infancy. I tell you what it will become. The public squares will be occupied by an uneducated class who will not be able to quote a line of Shakespeare.

Oh, we were a degree or two hotter than improper.

I had known loneliness before, and emptiness upon the moor, but I had never been a NOTHING, a nothing floating on a nothing, known by nothing, lonelier and colder than the space between the stars. It was more frightening than being dead.

She understood as women often do more easily than men, that the declared meaning of a spoken sentence is only its overcoat, and the real meaning lies underneath its scarves and buttons.

Swimming always cleans your soul.


D. B. C. Pierre

The problem with learning the truth about things is that you lose the confidence that comes from being dumb.

I sense a learning: that much dumber people than you end up in charge.

God knows I tried my best to learn the ways of this world, even had inklings we could be glorious; but after all that's happened, the inkles ain't easy anymore. I mean - what kind of fucken life is this?

She said Mom closed up the house one day, turned the oven on full, and sat by its open door. Apparently it's still a Cry For Help, even though our oven's electric.

History's best thinkers eventually concluded that our flaws were too powerful to trust with freedom. Thus we've been groomed as hamsters in a wheel that benefits a laughing few. No more great works will be accomplished under the regime, because beauty is not democratic or profitable.

Don’t be lookin up at no sky for help. Look down here, at us twisted dreamers.

For all the sirens, game-show buzzers, and drum-rolls of life, it is the nature of men to die quietly.

What I'am learning is the world laughs through its ass every day, then just lies double-time when shit goes down. It's like we're on a Pritikin diet of fucken lies. I mean - what kind of fucken life is this?


Alan Hollinghurst

He wanted pure compliments, just as he wanted unconditional love.

The worse they are the more they see beauty in each other

It was the time of year when the atmosphere streamed with unexpected hints and memories, and a paradoxical sense of renewal.

There was the noise itself, which he thought of vaguely as the noise of classical music, sameish and rhetorical, full of feelings people surely never had.

The pursuit of love seemed to need the cultivation of indifference.


Kiran Desai

The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.

Could fulfillment ever be felt as deeply as loss? Romantically she decided that love must surely reside in the gap between desire and fulfillment, in the lack, not the contentment. Love was the ache, the anticipation, the retreat, everything around it but the emotion itself.

Sadness was so claustrophobic.

Could fulfillment ever be felt as deeply as loss?

When he died, I went about like a ragged crow telling strangers, "My father died, my father died." My indiscretion embarrassed me, but I could not help it. Without my father on his Delhi rooftop, why was I here? Without him there, why should I go back? Without that ache between us, what was I made of?

Why couldn't she be part of that family? Rent a room in someone else's life.

All day, the colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths.

A journey once begun, has no end.


Anne Enright

People do not change, they are merely revealed.

I have no place left to live but in my own heart.

We do not always like the people we love--we do not always have that choice.

There are so few people given us to love. I want to tell my daughters this, that each time you fall in love it is important, even at nineteen. Especially at nineteen. And if you can, at nineteen, count the people you love on one hand, you will not, at forty, have run out of fingers on the other. There are so few people given us to love and they all stick.

I am interested in silences.

I do not think we remember our family in any real sense. We live in them instead.

Her past is behind her, her future is of little concern. She moves towards the grave, at her own speed.


Aravind Adiga

See, the poor dream all their lives of getting enough to eat and looking like the rich. And what do the rich dream of? Losing weight and looking like the poor.

I was looking for the key for years
But the door was always open

The moment you recognize what is beautiful in this world, you stop being a slave.

It's amazing. The moment you show cash, everyone knows your language.

The story of a poor man's life is written on his body, in a sharp pen.

You ask 'Are you a man or a demon?' Neither, I say. I have woken up, and the rest of you are sleeping, and that is the only difference between us.

Strange thoughts brew in your heart when you spend too much time with old books.

Neither you nor I speak English, but there are some things that can be said only in English.

Let animals live like animals; let humans live like humans. That's my whole philosophy in a sentence.

A White Tiger keeps no friends. It's too dangerous.


Howard Jacobson

How do you go on knowing that you will never again - not ever, ever - see the person you have loved? How do you survive a single hour, a single minute, a single second of that knowledge? How do you hold yourself together?

So many unhappy women out there. Such a sea of female misery.

But what is the imagination for if not to grasp how the world feels to those who don't think what you think?

At a certain age men began to shrink, and yet it was precisely at that age that their trousers became too short for them.

It's never over till it's over with a friend.

I could use the company but I can't go through the pain of getting it.

Was he a bad man or just a foolish one? He didn't feel bad to himself. As a husband he believed himself to be essentially good and loyal. It just wasn't written in a man's nature to be monogamous, that was all. And he owed something to his nature even when his nature was at odds with his desire, which was to stay at home and cherish his wife. It was his nature – all nature, the rule of nature – that was the bastard, not him.


Eleanor Catton

Love cannot be reduced to a catalogue of reasons why, and a catalogue of reasons cannot be put together into love.

A woman fallen has no future; a man risen has no past.

Never underestimate how extraordinarily difficult it is to understand a situation from another person's point of view.

She is a loner, too bright for the slutty girls and too savage for the bright girls, haunting the edges and corners of the school like a sullen disillusioned ghost.

For although a man is judged by his actions, by what he has said and done, a man judges himself by what he is willing to do, by what he might have said, or might have done—a judgment that is necessarily hampered, not only by the scope and limits of his imagination, but by the ever-changing measure of his doubt and self-esteem.

Reason is no match for desire: when desire is purely and powerfully felt, it becomes a kind of reason of its own.

If home can't be where you come from, then home is what you make of where you go.

It is a feature of human nature to give what we most wish to receive.

Remember that anybody who is clever enough to set you free is clever enough to enslave you.

Solitude is a condition best enjoyed in company.

We spend our entire lives thinking about death. Without that project to divert us, I expect we would all be dreadfully bored. We would have nothing to evade, and nothing to forestall, and nothing to wonder about. Time would have no consequence.


Richard Flanagan

A good book ... leaves you wanting to reread the book. A great book compels you to reread your own soul.

A happy man has no past, while an unhappy man has nothing else.

There are words and words and none mean anything. And then one sentence means everything.

He believed books had an aura that protected him, that without one beside him he would die. He happily slept without women. He never slept without a book.

The path to survival was to never give up on the small things.

In trying to escape the fatality of memory, he discovered with an immense sadness that pursuing the past inevitably only leads to greater loss.

Virtue was vanity dressed up and waiting for applause.

Horror can be contained within a book, given form and meaning. But in life horror has no more form than it does meaning. Horror just is. And while it reigns, it is as if there is nothing in the universe that it is not.

So there you have it: two things & I can't bring them together & they are wrenching me apart. These two feelings, this knowledge of a world so awful, this sense of a life so extraordinary—how am I to resolve them?


Marlon James

Killing don’t need no reason. This is ghetto. Reason is for rich people. We have madness.

Love isn’t saying, I love you but calling to say, did you eat.

I think that’s what Toni Morrison and Alice Walker understand, the secret language of women. That it’s not a secret at all; men just don’t know how to listen.

But in another city, another valley, another ghetto, another slum, another favela, another township, another intifada, another war, another birth, somebody is singing Redemption Song, as if the Singer wrote it for no other reason but for this sufferah to sing, shout, whisper, weep, bawl, and scream right here, right now.

If it no go so, it go near so. 

Those who think he had lucky breaks are not only unaware of the real story but also fall prey to that sin of the mediocre: bitchiness about others’ success.

The dream didn’t leave, people just don’t know a nightmare when they right in the middle of one.

But sometimes when you’re too careful it just turns into a different kind of carelessness.

That’s what happens when you personify hopes and dreams in one person. He becomes nothing more than a literary device.