Read! Literary quotes of five contemporary inspiring authors

For each author we present a brief introduction, selected quotes on the novel and link to their website.

Davide Amante
http://www.davideamante.com/en/
His novel ‘Point of no return Wallenberg’ is powerful and moving. Davide Amante is an influential author, renowned for his independence from the mainstream publishing industry, he has taught literature and has a trailblazing control on language.
Point of no return Wallenberg is based on a true story: a man boarding a plane from Stockholm to New York recognises a few seats before him the woman he once loved. As the plane crosses the Atlantic he thinks at Budapest, Hungary, along the waters of the Danube river, where they live an intense love affair and spy story that unwinds in wartime. He saves thousands of Jewish families from deportation in an ever growing confrontation with commander Eichmann and his troops and the Allied secret services.
The man mysteriously disappears and is given dead, but no one knows the young Jewish woman he once loved is reaching out to save him. Finally they live, older, the love story they were destined for.
A must read!

Quotes from Davide Amante
She was no longer young but had crossed life, and the lines of her face, along with the sense of fluidity that she emanated in the way she moved, reflected the extent of her experiences and the long inner distance she must have travelled and which, in her body, had attained that perfect balance that in some is called age.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The Danube, Mr. Wallenberg, is a demarcation line and not only in terms of geography but, shall we say, of soul.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The fury of the Western Dream and all the possibility it carries, including its frightening accessibility. And, then, on the other side, the silence of the vast expanses of the East which sweep beyond the horizon towards the inaccessible, annihilating everything.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

You are searching for your own infinity, as every self-respecting man must.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

“But what are you looking for?”
“The possibility of dreams that lies under the Western sky.”
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

This was the glass of displacement. He was relieved from the sharp and uncompromising perception of things, from the exasperating proximity of their limit. He began to feel a vague sense of distance.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Breathlessness swept over as she sensed his presence behind her, that particular breed of untamed energy that she had always felt when she was with him and had never experienced since.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

As the vehicle crossed Queensboro Bridge, Robert and Mira held each other’s hand on the back seat, feeling completely free and alive before the city. The radio spoke of a spring morning and the driver caught glimpses in the rear vision mirror of an elderly couple full of wonder as they looked out the window and into each other’s eyes, knowing that now life was beginning before them, leading to that inconceivable extent of time which we call instant.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

For years he had wondered about such a moment, he had long imagined it. Naturally there was more than just the intensity of his feelings, but also questions. The coldness of her eyes was the most difficult thing. It had always been there, he had always sensed it but now, after all those years, it left him breathless. Thinking back on her gaze he experienced a sense of anguish similar to that sense of emptiness that he felt when confronted with life and he realised that while on one hand she could save him from that, at the same time she was the only person who could also take him towards that. He had always felt with her this constant sense of excitement, of living on the edge.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Find a barroom and have a couple of drinks. That’s the best way to look after me.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Budapest was a desolate place waiting to be captured, and herein lay its ultimate beauty. The city let itself go in snatched moments of laughter and poetry along the streets, in the repartee among the men in uniform, in dinners and private parties lived with no thought of tomorrow. Life was everywhere and could be found unpretentiously in the most unexpected corners.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

It was then, in a precise moment, that he savoured his solitude. The more undefined the shadows of those lands and the skyline in front of him became, the clearer in him grew the awareness of his own loneliness. And in that interminable solitude he found shelter. He knew no one would ever understand or even decipher how in such an inexplicable and temporary place, he had seen with exasperating clearness the layers of emptiness and life in front of him. But in that very moment he felt through solitude itself that essential and undefined desire to act and to move forward which is life.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

But in that very moment he felt through solitude itself that essential and undefined desire to act and to move forward which is life.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

An extremely ambitious businessman in a desperate country stands for excitement. And for danger.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

This place is full of terrible individuals and opportunists. Incidentally, some of them are also rather likeable
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Desperation insinuated itself everywhere, rendering dreams improbable and mornings uncertain.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

And the night itself was moving with the wind beyond the windows, dragging along beneath the stars the inevitability of the Danube and the silent extent of forest that lay beyond the river.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Sophistication and simplicity were brought together in her in an arresting combination.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The current that now ran between their eyes carried them beyond the room onto the night, reaching unlimited distances.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

He could see the skyline’s extent when she was near and the violent surge of blood in his veins that took everything back to a clear and savage state.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

“This city has no future.”
“I know.”
“And so, what are you looking for?”
“Exactly that. The absence of any future.”
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Above them flashes of starlit sky appeared among the enormous leafy branches.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

They shared a sense of lightness, as if they were suspended in a sky that belonged to them only.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The wind carried the vast emptiness of the plains and open lands that extended into the distance, further even than the dark.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

“What are you looking for?”
“The unforeseen.”
“The unforeseen, Robert Wallenberg?”
“The unforeseen in life and what I don’t yet know.”
“This is something.”
“Your beauty is something.”
“Stay close to me.”
“I will.”
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Purple dominated the sky, stretching across the clouds and the rain in such a way that droplets of colour, saturated with solitude and desire, seemed to wrap the entire city, its streets and the river.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The scent of the nocturnal wind took him towards the life that lay ahead. The metallic pulse of the train’s wheels carried life forward as he opened his eyes wide into the night.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The odour of the nighttime air mingled with the steam and the faint smell of oil that emanated from the train.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

If he had known the furious pace of his life in the months that lay ahead, Robert Wallenberg would have experienced that particular peace that a certain type of man finds only in unrest.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

His grandfather saw in the young boy’s eyes that courage and folly that neither of them ever alluded to but was the foundation for the success of the former and the unrest of the latter. As much as they were respected, both of them remained two isolated members within the compass of a great family that whilst not understanding them, nevertheless admired the success and power of the older man, and the independence and nonconformity of the younger.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The car sped along the dirt road, leaving behind the past in the dust of its wake.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

He listened to the night’s wind with the window open, he savoured the hot July earth surrounding Budapest, he made a decision.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

This brief intimacy between the two of them excited her. She was attracted to Robert and his determination to such a point that she could imagine sharing a life with him.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

He recognised her by the dignified gait but she was wearing crumpled clothes and many things about her had changed since that first meeting at the villa a year before. All of a sudden the city seemed to expand and all things looked as though they had a place.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Robert observed Mira from a distance and then moved closer to the point where he could smell her odour, see her breasts and feel that indefinable savage detachment from everything that her presence evoked in him like nothing else had ever done before. As Budapest rolled past through the windows he felt again that wild, indispensable thrust towards her he had felt the first time he met her.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Now, once again, they were breathing the same air.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

For the second time she felt safe and secure and everything around her faded into insignificance. She was aware only of the muted noise of the city and the scent of the wind and she let herself be borne away by him without questioning anything.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

If, in its slow course across summer, the Danube had experienced that lightness and detachment that only Mira had been able to impart to Robert, then perhaps the entire river would have raised above the city and that boundless sky made of water, expanding to the limit of things, would have spilled over in endless droplets over Budapest, slowly washing away rage, war and time itself under the reflections of that incessant, cleansing rain.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The river’s waters reflected their words under the clear sky.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Robert saw the glittering and desperate intelligence in her eyes which others might have tried to reach without success, simply labelling it allure, but which for him was about to become love.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Robert and Mira knew the risk and shared a transgression composed of courage and beauty.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

They spoke for hours under the soft night and every word seemed to amplify the space around them. A space so vast that it was no longer possible to understand its limits, because beyond it lay only their intimacy.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

There was something essential between them that neither of them had ever felt before. He smelt her odour mingled with that of the night.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The moon filtered through the shutters creating lines of light on the sheet and pillows, intermittently illuminating Robert’s lips as they made their way down a naked, tensed body.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

They pushed forward the future to the point it lay far and became limitless.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Mira had a calm and remote smile, almost as if she was aware of her boundless beauty.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Robert knew that if he could reach the extent of her smile and possess her body, in that very moment he would reach the meaning of life itself.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

They had found love for life through the love they shared for their own bodies.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

In the same way that the warm summer air cast a haze making everything appear blurred and fluid, so he felt with her that everything was constantly moving and acquiring a perspective. Even the tables in the bar terrace and the place itself seemed, in their simplicity, to be made from a different substance.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

In a city teeming with heat, water and desire, they loved each other and discovered the burning need to possess each other’s body. They lived to undress and stay naked in a room.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

I’m particularly fascinated by this city and by its drift towards melancholy.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

“I mean what you find on the outskirts of the city where I’ve been a couple of times by car. You’ll have noticed a sort of undefined and unpredictable disorder that seems to belong not just to the people living there but also to things in general.”
“And what do you find so interesting in this disorder as you call it?”
“Wonder”
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

He represented all that they aspired to: power, wealth, style, irony and success. Qualities innate to him but which for them comprised a lofty but unrealistic ambition. A simple gesture such as drawing a pen from the pocket to sign a document with his gaze elsewhere was enough for them to under-stand that they could never hope to have what he possessed.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

They were vaguely in awe of him and their behaviour contained a subtle deference that is to be found in men who conform to the ideas of their time, lacking any freedom of spirit.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

They left travelling straight through the city, accompanied by a line of white soft clouds which led to the summer’s skyline.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

If a man knew what moves beyond the limits of life, maybe he would attribute more importance to certain signs and unexpected events which every now and then life finds many ways to bring in his path. And if it is love to which we attribute the highest value in life then it would be possible to imagine that love itself is the very thing capable of piercing the sky and surviving beyond time with unaltered intensity, reaching us when we most need it.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Mira slowly opened Robert’s shirt, kissing him each time she undid a button. “I love your strength,” she said as she exposed his shoulder and kissed his arm. “I love your gaze,” she continued as she kissed his eyes. “I love your thoughts,” touching her mouth to his forehead. “I love your passion,” she murmured, opening up his shirt and kissing his chest.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

“You do not appear to see the perfect order of this project.”
“What I do see is the beautiful imperfection of life’s disorder.”
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

“And what do you find so fascinating about this unrest?”
“The undefined melancholy that pushes me to live without limits.”
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

But whereas the Gestapo were viewing that life as incomprehensibly disordered or irregular, it possessed an intense order in the thoughts and heart of Mira. This because Robert let himself be guided by her in the poetry of things. And simplicity, that clarity of soul composed of unforeseeable threads of gossamer, carried them through the summer like the gentlest gust of wind.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Suspended above the ground, they moved along together leaving behind the dust of their love, that inevitable dust created by misunderstanding, words unspoken, fears, confessions destined to remain behind them but nonetheless so necessary so that they could feel free.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Reflections of water on the banks of the Danube caught glimpses of the looks they shared, looks containing the absolute courage with which they were living their lives. Each of them had placed themselves in the other’s hands.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

From here one can understand that Moscow contains traces of infinity. Extent, Mr. Wallenberg, Russian extent. The territories of this land reach beyond the limits of imagination and this has an effect on the appreciation of things.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

“Madness, Kartashov, is that ordered way those men you find outside these windows go about their organised lives. The only real madness is that of wanting to give an order or sense to things. The desperate attempt by men to disguise their weakness.”
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

If there was one thing age had brought him it was the awareness that unrest and the quest for the unexpected were the only things that made sense.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

The certainty of his death had become, at this stage, the certainty of her life, because she had found in that man belonging to the past something reliable that kept her away from the fury of the life around her: in a sense, he was still protecting her.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

Robert smiled and reached out a hand to adjust her hair in a gesture that no other man could have replicated and that she would have allowed no other man to try.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

They remained in their embrace, far from time, distant from everything yet so alive to feel near everything.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

They walked out of the airport. Mira shook her arm to summon a taxi and Robert noted the way she pulled herself up slightly on tiptoe as if to appear taller. That simple gesture aroused a tenderness in him just as it had so often in Budapest and more than any dress or make up could have, it moved aside the years to reveal the insecurity of a young girl.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

As the vehicle crossed Queensboro Bridge, Robert and Mira held each other’s hand on the back seat, feeling completely free and alive before the city. The radio spoke of a spring morning and the driver caught glimpses in the rear vision mirror of an elderly couple full of wonder as they looked out the window and into each other’s eyes, knowing that now life was beginning before them, leading to that inconceivable extent of time which we call instant.
Davide Amante, Point of no return Wallenberg

 

Jonathan Franzen
https://us.macmillan.com/author/jonathanfranzen/
Jonathan Franzen is the author of Purity and four other novels, most recently The Corrections and Freedom, and five works of nonfiction and translation, including Farther Away and The Kraus Project, all published by FSG. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the German Akademie der Künste, and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of too much liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom’s intensely realized characters, as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.

Quotes from Jonathan Franzen
“Nice people don’t necessarily fall in love with nice people.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“You may be poor, but the one thing nobody can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“There is, after all, a kind of happiness in unhappiness, if it’s the right unhappiness.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“This wasn’t the person he’d thought he was, or would have chosen to be if he’d been free to choose, but there was something comforting and liberating about being an actual definite someone, rather than a collection of contradictory potential someones.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“It’s all circling around the same problem of personal liberties,” Walter said. “People came to this country for either money or freedom. If you don’t have money, you cling to your freedoms all the more angrily. Even if smoking kills you, even if you can’t afford to feed your kids, even if your kids are getting shot down by maniacs with assault rifles. You may be poor, but the one thing nobody can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“The personality susceptible to the dream of limitless freedom is a personality also prone, should the dream ever sour, to misanthropy and rage.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“But nothing disturbs the feeling of specialness like the presence of other human beings feeling identically special.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Integrity’s a neutral value. Hyenas have integrity, too. They’re pure hyena.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Walter had never liked cats. They’d seemed to him the sociopaths of the pet world, a species domesticated as an evil necessary for the control of rodents and subsequently fetishized the way unhappy countries fetishize their militaries, saluting the uniforms of killers as cat owners stroke their animals’ lovely fur and forgive their claws and fangs. He’d never seen anything in a cat’s face but simpering incuriosity and self-interest; you only had to tease one with a mouse-toy to see where it’s true heart lay…cats were all about using people”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“But she was seventeen now and not actually dumb. She knew that you could love somebody more than anything and still not love the person all that much, if you were busy with other things.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“There’s a hazardous sadness to the first sounds of someone else’s work in the morning; it’s as if stillness experiences pain in being broken.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“I admire your capacity for admiring.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Patty knew, in her heart, that he was wrong in his impression of her. And the mistake she went to go on to make, the really big life mistake, was to go along with Walter’s version of her in spite of knowing that it wasn’t right. He seemed so certain of her goodness that eventually he wore her down.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Each new thing he encountered in life impelled him in a direction that fully convinced him of its rightness, but then the next new thing loomed up and impelled him in the opposite direction, which also felt right. There was no controlling narrative: he seemed to himself a purely reactive pinball in a game whose only object was to stay alive for staying alive’s sake.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“I think the iPod is the true face of Republican politics, and I’m in favor of the music industry … standing up proud and saying it out loud: We in the Chiclet-manufacturing business are not about social justice, …we’re not about a coherent set of national ideals, we’re not about wisdom. We’re about choosing what WE want to listen to and ignoring everything else…. We’re about giving ourselves a mindless feel-good treat every five minutes. …We’re about persuading ten-year-old children to spend twenty-five dollars on a cool little silicone iPod case that costs a licensed Apple Computer subsidiary thirty-nine cents to manufacture.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Her eyes weren’t blinking. There was still something almost dead in them, something very far away. She seemed to be seeing all the way through to the back of him and beyond, out into the cold space of the future in which they would both soon be dead, out into the nothingness that Lalitha and his mother and his father had already passed into, and yet she was looking straight into his eyes, and he could feel her getting warmer by the minute. And so he stopped looking at her eyes and started looking into them, returning their look before it was too late, before this connection between life and what came after life was lost, and let her see all the vileness inside him, all the hatreds of two thousand solitary nights, while the two of them were still with the void in which the sum of everything they’d ever said or done, every pain they’d inflicted, every joy they’d shared, would weigh less than the smallest feather on the wind.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“The reason this system can’t be overthrown in this country,” Walter said, “is all about freedom. The reason the free market in Europe is tempered by socialism is that they’re not so hung up on personal liberties there. They also have lower population growth rates, despite comparable income levels. The Europans are all-around more rational, basically. And the conversation about rights in this country isn’t rational. It’s taking place on the level of emotion, and class resentments, which is why the right is so good at exploiting it.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Remind me again what’s wrong with Dave Matthews?”
“Basically everything, except technical proficiency,” Walter said.
“Right.”
“But maybe especially the banality of the lyrics. ‘Gotta be free, so free, yeah, yeah, yeah. Can’t live without my freedom, yeah yeah.’ That’s pretty much every song.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Use well thy freedom.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“The pain was quite extraordinary. And yet also weirdly welcome and restorative, bringing him news of his aliveness and his caughtness in a story larger than himself.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“He became another data point in the American experiment of self-government, an experiment statistically skewed from the outset, because it wasn’t the people with sociable genes who fled the crowded Old World for the new continent; it was the people who didn’t get along well with others.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“He and his wife loved each other and brought each other daily pain. Everything else he was doing in his life, even his longing for Lalitha, amounted to little more than flight from circumstance. He and Patty couldn’t live together and couldn’t imagine living apart. Each time he thought they’d reached the unbearable breaking point, it turned out that there was still further they could go without breaking.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Katz had read extensively in popular sociobiology, and his understanding of the depressive personality type and its seemingly perverse persistence in the human gene pool was that depression was successful adaptation to ceaseless pain and hardship. Pessimism, feelings of worthlessness and lack of entitlement, inability to derive satisfaction from pleasure, a tormenting awareness of the world’s general crappiness: for Katz Jewish paternal forebears, who’d been driven from shtetl to shtetl by implacable anti-Semites, as for the old Angles and Saxons on his mother’s side, who’d labored to grow rye and barley in the poor soils and short summers of northern Europe, feeling bad all the time and expecting the worse had been natural ways of equilibriating themselves with the lousiness of their circumstances. Few things gratified depressives, after all, more than really bad news. This obviously wasn’t an optimal way to live, but it had its evolutionary advantages.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Fiction is a particularly effective way for strangers to connect across time and distance”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“And yet the feeling of injustice itself turned out to be strangely physical. Even realer, in a way, than a her hurting, smelling, sweating body. Injustice had a shape, an a weight, and a temperature, and a texture, and a very bad taste.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“And this of course, was the simplest definition of depression that he knew of: strongly disliking yourself.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Serious fans always need to feel uniquely connected to the object of their fandom; they jealously guard those points of connection, however tiny or imaginary, that justify the feeling of uniqueness.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“What he’d never understood about men in his position, in all the books he’d read and movies he’d seen about them, was clearer to him now: you couldn’t keep expecting wholehearted love without, at some point, requiting it. There was no credit to be earned for simply being good.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“The conservatives won. They turned the Democrats into a center-right party. They got the entire country singing ‘God Bless America,’ stress on God, at every single major-league baseball game. They won on every fucking front, but they especially won culturally, and especially regarding babies. In 1970 it was cool to care about the planet’s future and not have kids. Now the one thing everyone agrees on, right and left, is that it’s beautiful to have a lot of babies. The more the better. Kate Winslet is pregnant, hooray hooray. Some dimwit in Iowa just had octuplets, hooray hooray. The conversation about the idiocy of SUV’s stops dead the minute people say they’re buying them to protect their precious babies.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

 

 

Michael Cunningham
http://www.michaelcunninghamwriter.com
Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award & Pulitzer Prize), The Snow Queen, Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the non-fiction book, Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown. His new book, A Wild Swan and Other Tales (illustrated by Yuko Shimizu) will be published in November 2015. He is a Senior Lecturer at Yale and lives in New York.
In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely praised as one of the most gifted writers of his generation, draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The narrative of Woolf’s last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Richard, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.

Quotes from Michael Cunningham
She is, above all else, tired; she wants more than anything to return to her bed and her book. The world, this world, feels suddenly stunned and stunted, far from everything.
Michael Cunningham, The Hours: A Novel

Take me with you. I want a doomed love. I want streets at night, wind and rain, no one wondering where I am.
Michael Cunningham, The Hours: A Novel

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
Michael Cunningham, The Hours: A Novel

This is what you do. You make a future for yourself out of the raw material at hand.
Michael Cunningham, The Hours: A Novel

 

 

Cormac McCarthy
http://www.cormacmccarthy.com
Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He has written ten novels, spanning the Southern Gothic, Western, and post-apocalyptic genres.
McCarthy’s fifth novel, Blood Meridian (1985), was on Time magazine’s 2005 list of the 100 best English-language books.

Quotes from Cormac McCarthy
People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Even the damned in hell have the community of their suffering.
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it. In the law courts, in business, in government. There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

Where men can’t live gods fare no better.
Cormac McCarthy, The Road

How surely are the dead beyond death. Death is what the living carry with them. A state of dread, like some uncanny foretaste of a bitter memory. But the dead do not remember and nothingness is not a curse. Far from it.
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

What family has no mariner in its tree? No fool, no felon. No fisherman.
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

To know what will come is the same as to make it so.
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

There are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse.
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

 

 

Emma Cline
http://emmacline.com
Emma Cline is the author of The Girls. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Granta, and The Paris Review, and she was the recipient of the Paris Review Plimpton Prize.  In 2017, she was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. She is from California.
The New Yorker starts about her: Finely intelligent, often superbly written, with flashingly brilliant sentences.At her frequent best, Cline sees the world exactly and generously. On every other page, it seems, there is something remarkable—an immaculate phrase, a boldly modifying adverb, a metaphor or simile that makes a sudden, electric connection between its poles….Much of this has to do with Cline’s ability to look again, like a painter, and see (or sense) things better than most of us do.

Quotes from Emma Cline
“That was part of being a girl–you were resigned to whatever feedback you’d get. If you got mad, you were crazy, and if you didn’t react, you were a bitch. The only thing you could do was smile from the corner they’d backed you into. Implicate yourself in the joke even if the joke was always on you.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“I waited to be told what was good about me. […] All that time I had spent readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you- the boys had spent that time becoming themselves.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“That was our mistake, I think. One of many mistakes. To believe that boys were acting with a logic that we could someday understand. To believe that their actions had any meaning beyond thoughtless impulse. We were like conspiracy theorists, seeing portent and intention in every detail, wishing desperately that we mattered enough to be the object of planning and speculation. But they were just boys. Silly and young and straightforward; they weren’t hiding anything.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“So much of desire, at that age, was a willful act. Trying so hard to slur the rough, disappointing edges of boys into the shape of someone we could love. We spoke of our desperate need for them with rote and familiar words, like we were reading lines from a play. Later I would see this: how impersonal and grasping our love was, pinging around the universe, hoping for a host to give form to our wishes.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“Poor Sasha. Poor girls. The world fattens them on the promise of live. How badly they need it, and how little most of them will ever get. The treacled pop songs, the dresses described in the catalogs with words like ‘sunset’ and ‘Paris.’ Then the dreams are taken away with such violent force; the hand wrenching the buttons of the jeans, nobody looking at the man shouting at his girlfriend on the bus”
Emma Cline, The Girls

tags: expectations, feminism, girls, sexism, social-commentary 56 likes Like
“Poor girls. The world fattens them on the promise of love. How badly they need it, and how little most of them will ever get.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“You wanted things and you couldn’t help it, because there was only your life, only yourself to wake up with, and how could you ever tell yourself what you wanted was wrong?”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“Girls are the only ones who can really give each other close attention, the kind we equate with being loved. They noticed what we want noticed.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“They didn’t have very far to fall–I knew just being a girl in the world handicapped your ability to believe yourself. Feelings seemed completely unreliable, like faulty gibberish scraped from a Ouija board. My childhood visits to the family doctor were stressful events for that reason. He’d ask me gentle questions: How was I feeling? How would I describe the pain? Was it more sharp or more spread out? I’d just look at him with desperation. I needed to be told, that was the whole point of going to the doctor. To take a test, be put through a machine that would comb my insides with radiated precision and tell me what the truth was.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“I should have known that when men warn you to be careful, often they are warning you of the dark movie playing across their own brains.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“And now I was older, and the wishful props of future selves had lost their comforts. I might always feel some form of this, a depression that did not lift but grew compact and familiar, a space occupied like the sad limbo of hotel rooms.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“She was lost in that deep and certain sense that there was nothing beyond her own experience. As if there were only one way things could go, the years leading you down a corridor to the room where your inevitable self waited–embryonic, ready to be revealed. How sad it was to realize that sometimes you never got there. That sometimes you lived a whole life skittering across the surface as the years passed, unblessed.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“They didn’t have very far to fall—I knew just being a girl in the world handicapped your ability to believe yourself.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“I thought that loving someone acted as a kind of protective measure, like they’d understand the scale and intensity of your feelings and act accordingly. That seemed fair to me, as if fairness were a measure the universe cared anything about.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“Mitch studied me with a questioning, smug smile. Men did it so easily, that immediate parceling of value. And how they seemed to want you to collude on your own judgement.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“My glitchy adolescent brain was desperate for causalities, for conspiracies that drenched every word, every gesture, with meaning.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“I should have known that when men warn you to be careful, often they are warning you of the dark movie playing across their own brains. Some violent daydream prompting their guilty exhortations to ‘make it home safe.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“So much of desire, at that age, was a willful act. Trying so hard to slur the rough, disappointing edges of boys into the shape of someone we could love.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“Life a continuous backing away from the edge.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“…I was confusing familiarity with happiness. Because that was there even when love wasn’t…”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“We had been with the men, we had let them do what they wanted. But they would never know the parts of ourselves that we hid from them—they would never sense the lack or even know there was something more they should be looking for. Suzanne”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“The ways your desire could humiliate you.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“No one had ever looked at me before Suzanne, not really, so she became my definition. Her gaze softening my centre so easily that even photographs of her seemed aimed at me, ignited with private meaning.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“Adults always teased me about having boyfriends, but there was an age where it was no longer a joke, the idea that boys might actually want you.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“That seemed fair to me, as if fairness were a measure the universe cared anything about.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“Everyone, later, would find it unbelievable that anyone involved in the ranch would stay in that situation. A situation so obviously bad. But Suzanne had nothing else: she had given her life completely over to Russell, and by then it was like a thing he could hold in his hands, turning it over and over, testing its weight. Suzanne and the other girls had stopped being able to make certain judgments, the unused muscle of their ego growing slack and useless. It had been so long since any of them had occupied a world where right and wrong existed in any real way. Whatever instincts they’d ever had—the weak twinge in the gut, a gnaw of concern—had become inaudible.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“How sad it was to realize that sometimes you never got there. That sometimes you lived a whole life skittering across the surface as the years passed, unblessed.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“That was the strange thing – I didn’t hate my father. He had wanted something. Like I wanted Suzanne. Or my mother wanted Frank. You wanted things and you couldn’t help it, because there was only your life, only yourself to wake up with, and how could you ever tell yourself what you wanted was wrong?”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“At that age, I was, first and foremost, a thing to be judged, and that shifted the power in every interaction onto the other person. The”
Emma Cline, The Girls

“Break down the self, offer yourself up like dust to the universe.”
Emma Cline, The Girls

 

 

Ben Lerner
https://us.macmillan.com/author/benlerner/
Ben Lerner was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1979. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright, Guggenheim, Howard, and MacArthur Foundations. His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, won the 2012 Believer Book Award, and excerpts from 10:04 have been awarded The Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize. He has published three poetry collections: The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw (a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry), and Mean Free Path. Lerner is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.
Leaving the Atocha Station: Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his attitude towards art. Fuelled by strong coffee and self-prescribed tranquillizers, Adam’s ‘research’ soon becomes a meditation on the possibility of authenticity, as he finds himself increasingly troubled by the uncrossable distance between himself and the world around him. It’s not just his imperfect grasp of Spanish, but the underlying suspicion that his relationships, his reactions, and his entire personality are just as fraudulent as his poetry.

Quotes from Ben Lerner
“Art has to offer something other than stylized despair.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“The chicken is a little dry and/or you’ve ruined my life.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“I tried hard to imagine my poems or any poems as machines that could make things happen, changing the government, or the economy or even their language, the body or its sensorium, but I could not imagine this, could not even imagine imagining it. And yet when I imagined the total victory of those other things over poetry, when I imagined, with a sinking feeling, a world without even the terrible excuses for poems that kept faith with the virtual possibilities of the medium, without the sort of absurd ritual I’d participated in that evening then I intuited an inestimable loss, a loss not of artworks but of art, and therefore infinite, the total triumph of the actual, and I realized that, in such a world, I would swallow a bottle of white pills.”
― Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station

“You are the first and last indigenous Nintendo.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“I could imagine it in a way that felt like remembering”
― Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station

“Since the world is ending,” Peter quoted from behind us, “why not let the children touch the paintings?”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“How many out-of-character things did I need to do, I wondered, before the world rearranged itself around me?”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“Shaving is a way to start the workday by ritually not cutting your throat when you’ve the chance.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“I breathed in the night air that was or was not laced with anachronistic blossoms and felt the small thrill I always felt to a lesser or greater degree when I looked at Manhattan’s skyline and the innumerable illuminated windows and the liquid sapphire and ruby of traffic on the FDR Drive and the present absence of the towers.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“I was a violent, bipolar, compulsive liar. I was a real American.”
― Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station

“Laser technology has fulfilled our people’s ancient dream of a blade so fine that the person it cuts remains standing and alive until he moves and cleaves. Until we move, none of us can be sure that we have not already been cut in half, or in many pieces, by a blade of light. It is safest to assume that our throats have already been slit, that the slightest alteration in our postures will cause the painless severance of our heads.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“…that part of what I loved about poetry was how the distinction between fiction and nonfiction didn’t obtain, how the correspondence between text and world was less important than the intensities of the poem itself, what possibilities of feeling were opened up in the present tense of reading.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“I told the waiter I was looking for a hotel whose name I didn’t know on a street whose name I didn’t know and could he help me; we both laughed and he said: Aren’t we all.”
― Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station

“Why reproduce if you believe the world is ending?
Because the world is always ending for each of us and if one begins to withdraw from the possibilities of experience, then no one would take any of the risks involved with love.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“Happy were the ages when the starry sky was the map of all possible paths, ages of such perfect social integration that no drug was required to link the hero to the whole.”
― Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station

“I tended to find lines of poetry beautiful only when I encountered them quoted in prose, in the essays my professors had assigned in college, where the line breaks were replaced with slashes, so that what was communicated was less a particular poem than the echo of poetic possibility. Insofar as I was interested in the arts, I was interested in the disconnect between my experience of actual artworks and the claims made on their behalf; the closest I’d come to having a profound experience of art was probably the experience of this distance, a profound experience of the absence of profundity.”
― Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“because the cigarette or spliff was an indispensable technology, a substitute for speech in social situations, a way to occupy the mouth and hands when alone, a deep breathing technique that rendered exhalation material, a way to measure and/or pass the time. More important than the easily satisfiable addiction, what the little cylinders provided me was a prefabricated motivation and transition, a way to approach or depart from a group of people or a topic, enter or exit a room, conjoin or punctuate a sentence. The hardest part of quitting would be the loss of narrative function; it would be like removing telephones or newspapers from the movies of Hollywood’s Golden Age; there would be no possible link between scenes, no way to circulate information or close distance, and when I imagined quitting smoking, I imagined “settling down,” not because I associated quitting with a more mature self-care, but because I couldn’t imagine moving through an array of social spaces without the cigarette as bridge or exit strategy.”
― Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station

“Y si nunca nos acostábamos ni “desarrollábamos” nuestra relación, me iría de España con esa preciosa posibilidad intacta, y en el recuerdo siempre podría reflexionar sobre la relación que podría haber mantenido a la favorecedora luz del subjuntivo.”
― Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station

“I will begin to remember our walk in the third person, as if I’d seen it from the Manhattan Bridge, but, at the time of writing, as I lean against the chain-link fence intended to stop jumpers, I am looking back at the totaled city in the second person plural. I know it’s hard to understand / I am with you, and I know how it is. ”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

“I turned off the projector and Alex mumbled something in her sleep and turned over. I said, “Everything is fine, I’m going home now,” and said it just so I could say I’d said it in case she was upset later that I’d left without telling her. I thought about kissing her on the forehead but rejected the idea immediately; whatever physical intimacy had opened up between us had dissolved with the storm; even that relatively avuncular gesture would be strange for both of us now. More than that: it was as though the physical intimacy with Alex, just like the sociability with strangers or the aura around objects, wasn’t just over, but retrospectively erased. Because those moments had been enabled by a future that had never arrived, they could not be remembered from this future that, at and as the present, had obtained; they’d faded from the photograph.”
Ben Lerner, 10:04

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