""I looked at Sinbad. He was just my little brother. I hated him. He never wiped his nose. He cried. He wet the bed. He got away with not eating his dinner. He had to wear specs with one black lens. He ran to get the ball. No one else did that. They all waited for it to come then. He went through them all, no bother. He was brilliant. He wasn't selfish like most fellas who could dribble. It was weird, looking at him. It was great, and I wanted to kill him. You couldn't be proud of your little brother.""
""When he was in Africa he had a salad for his tea and when he came back from his holidays he started getting pains in his stomach and they brought him into Jervis Street because he was screaming in agony - they brought him in in a taxi - and the doctor couldn't tell what was wrong with him and the boy couldn't say anything because he couldn't stop screaming because of the pain, so they did an operation on him and they found lizards inside him, in his stomach, twenty of them; they'd made a nest. They were eating the stomach out of him. -You're still to eat your lettuce, said my ma.""
""When you were doing a funny face or pretending you had a stammer and the wind changed or someone thumped your back you stayed that way for ever. Declan Fanning - he was fourteen and his parents were thinking of sending him off to boarding school because he smoked - he had a stammer and he got it because he was jeering someone with a stammer and someone else thumped him in the back. Uncle Eddie didn't have a stammer but he could only say two words, Grand, grand.""
""The civil dead, that's what I am in this hellish monstrosity, civil dead. Hitler's regime had more civil liberties than this sinister stinkhole. Caesar and the Romans tolerated the Christians more under their laws. Romans - when in Rome, do as the Romans. Living among psychos, I've become a psycho.""
""I was sent into the valley of death among the callous, the psychos, the criminally insane... Your puppet soldiers had mastered the head games. They drove me crazy, and now I'll show you the results of your creation. I despise everything you stand for. You like to power-trip, don't you? A little dynamite under your car pales in comparison to seven long years of hellish torture, provocation and constant antagonism. I owe you...""
""Penitence and punishment are irreconcilable. They can never bring about change because one destroys the other. We who are inside are stripped of all sensibilities. The killers, recidivism and violent crimes prove the system is failing. Christ, my own mental state speaks volumes about your barbaric practices...""
""What's the sense in going on? Nothing has any meaning...everything is a game with people playing rote roles. I exist in an empty cosmos, traveling through this wasteland with murderous rage as my only constant. I can't go on like this. Life's overvalued...it's a death sentence...a burden to bear...a hellish dimension imposed without my consent...I've been catapulted into the realm of insanity and can't reverse the damage, but my vision is clear and my mind is lucid.""
""The person I am in my head is so far from the person I am in the world. Nobody would know me from my own description of myself; which is why, when called upon (rarely, I grant) to provide an account, I tailor it, I adapt, I try to provide an outline that can, in some way, correlate to the outline that people understand me to have—that, I suppose, I actually have, at this point. But who I am in my head, very few people really get to see that. Almost none. It's the most precious gift I can give, to bring her out of hiding. Maybe I've learned it's a mistake to reveal her at all.”
""Above all, in my anger, I was sad. Isn’t that always the way, that at the heart of the fire is a frozen kernel of sorrow that the fire is trying—valiantly, fruitlessly—to eradicate. And I was aware, in all this emotion, that as soon as she called - if she called - all would be forgiven. Every time my phone rang, my heart turned on vain hope. It was a reflex; I couldn't control it.""
""In the evening he sat on the porch, thinking. He believed it was a natural law that men with secrets tend to be drawn to each other, not because they want to share what they know but because they need the company of the like-minded, the fellow afflicted - a respite from the other life, from the eerie realness of living with people who do not keep secrets as a profession or duty, or a business fixed to one's existence.""
""A family expects you to be one thing when you're another. They twist you out of shape. You have a brother with a good job and a nice wife and nice kids and they want you to be a person they will recognize. And a mother in a white uniform who grips your arms and weeps. You are trapped in their minds. They shape and hammer you. Going away is what you do to see yourself plain.""
"" 'There is politics, there is emotion, there is psychology. I know him quite well but I wouldn't be completely honest if I said I could put him down, pin him right to the spot. He may be a pure Marxist, the purest of believers. Or he may be an actor in real life. What I know with absolute certainty is that he's poor, he's dreadfully, grindingly poor. What's the expression I want? '
'Piss poor.' ""
"" 'No,' said her father. 'I believe in god because it dissolves the edges.' He removed his hand from her leg and Jory shivered slightly, the evening's cool air seeming almost autumnlike. ' If there's a god, then there doesn't have to be an end to things,"" he said, ' to space, to time, to life. Things can be bigger than whatever it is we're merely able to see or measure. 'But they already are.' said Jory. 'Molecules and atoms and black holes and quarks. Everything is plenty huge even without god.' 'Well,' her father said, 'yes, so to speak.' ""
""And yet, and yet, she also longed to be as beautiful and lovely as the teeny-footed geisha on her grandmother's paper fan, or the coconut-shell-wearing girl on the Tahitian vanilla bottle. She wanted to have people (men and boys, in particular) be awestruck and speechless at the sight of her feminine beauty. She wanted to be powerful, but with a power she could control. She didn't even know what that meant.""
""Jory felt as if she had a missing tooth, as if there were a raw and seeping gap somewhere that ached and bled whenever she ran her tongue against the spot. Which she did over and over, as if it were some kind of test. As if her tooth might be back if she checked just once more, just once more, one last time. Everyone else seemed fine: Mrs. Kleinfelter, the people at school - no one but Jory seemed to realize that there was a horrible hole in the world.""
""Jory crane her head up at the sky again, at the stars that were sprinkled across its velvet darkness like some sort of enormous spangled sash. Did anyone ever really know anyone else? Really, truly know them, so much so that you never even had to doubt their thoughts or intentions? Maybe this was a rhetorical question. Her father once told her that most people who ask questions aren't looking for information, but affirmation. Jory guessed this was true now in her case as well.""
""The rational part of his mind told him she was just a fragment of unremembered bad dream that had followed him out of sleep and across the hall to the bathroom. That part insisted that if he opened the door again, there would be nothing there. Surely there wouldn’t be, now that he was awake. But another part of him, a part that shone, knew better. The Overlook wasn’t done with him.”
""He saw a Farmall tractor with a striped umbrella raised over the seat. He smelled bacon and heard Frank Sinatra singing ‘Come Fly with Me’ from a cracked Motorola radio sitting on a worktable littered with tools. He saw a hubcap full of rain reflecting a red barn. He tasted blueberries and gutted a deer and fished in some distant lake whose surface was dappled by steady autumn rain. He was sixty, dancing with his wife in the American Legion hall. He was thirty, splitting wood. He was five, wearing shorts and pulling a red wagon. Then the pictures blurred together, the way cards do when they’re shuffled in the hands of an expert, and the wind was blowing big snow down from the mountains, and in here was the silence and Azzie’s solemn watching eyes.”
""They’re no more remarkable than a flock of birds on a telephone wire or a herd of cows grazing beside the road. Oh, you might wonder how they can afford to fill those fuel guzzling monstrosities, because they must be on comfy fixed incomes how else could they spend all their time driving around like they do? And you might puzzle over why anyone would want to spend their golden cruising all those endless American miles between hoot and holler, but beyond that you probably never spared them a thought.""
""He's this complete goon with zero imagination or creativity. He's always sitting on my dreams and telling me to fall in line. Like I could ever be happy as a corporate lackey. Just cause he's traded in his dreams for financial security doesn't mean I have to. He's like this pigeon spending his life eating stale bread off the city street and dropping gooey white turds all over the place; while I'm like this falcon, soaring through the skies, taking what's mine with these massive talons, and getting paid by chick's to drink with them. It's like, where the fuck did I come from? You know?""
"" 'Fair enough. This one stands out too but I'm not sure that 'frightening the ship out of children' counts as a skill.' 'Sure it does. But you know what, I just remembered something else I should put on there. Get this. I've only eaten one Lay's potato chip...Ever.' 'Holy shit dude, I'll pencil that in for ya.' ""
"" 'But I've got chicks figured out. I know what'z going on.' 'Oh, you do, do you?' 'Yup. Chicks are like ize cream. There'z like 31 flavors, and most of them are azzanine concoctionz that shouldn't even exist in thiz world. But there'z a handful that're really tasty. And although you nibble on thoze tasty ones from time to time, there'z alwayz that one - mint chocolate chip - that you keep coming home to over and over ...' ""
“This is the truth: we all desire to conquer the comely one, because it affirms our own worth. Speaking for the men of the world, we want to own the beauty of the woman we're fucking. We want to grasp that beauty, tightly in our greedy little fingers, to well and truly possess it, to make it ours. We want to do this as the woman shines her way through an orgasm. That's perfection. And while I can't speak for women, I imagine that they-whether they admit it or not-want the same thing: to possess the man, to own his rough handsomeness, if only for a few seconds.”
""The doctors removed my wasteland exterior by debriding me, scraping away the charred flesh. they brought in tanks of liquid nitrogen containing skin recently harvested from corpses. The sheets were thawed in pans of water, then neatly arranged on my back and stapled into place. Just like that, as if they were laying strips of sod over the problem areas behind their summer cabins, they wrapped me in the skin of the dead. My body was cleaned constantly but I rejected these sheets of necro-flesh anyway; I've never played well with others. So over and over again, I was sheeted with cadaver skin.”
“God cannot be referred to as 'good,' 'better,' or 'best' because He is above all things. If a man says that God is wise, the man is lying because anything that is wise can become wiser. Anything that a man might say about God is incorrect... The best a man can do is to remain silent...The true master knows that if he had a God he could understand, he would never hold Him to be God.”
""There's a gentle sigh which descends like billowing silk upon the soul that accepts its coming death. It's a gentle pocket of air in the turbulence of everyday life... the silk settles around you as if it has been drifting towards the earth forever and has finally found it's target. The flag of defeat has been mercifully dropped and, in this action, the loss is not so bad. Defeat itself is defeated by the embrace of defeat, and death is swallowed up in victory.”
""It offended his sense of proportion and economy to throw away a ninety-percent serviceable string of lights. It offended his sense of himself, because he was an individual from an age of individuals, and a string of lights was, like him, an individual thing. No matter how little the thing had cost, to throw it away was to deny its value and, by extension, the value of individuals generally: to willfully designate as trash an object that you knew wasn't trash. Modernity expected this designation and Alfred resisted it. Unfortunately, he didn't know how to fix the lights.""
""The pleasure in this world, it has been said, outweighs the pain; or, at any rate, there is an even balance between the two. If the reader wishes to see shortly whether this statement is true, let him compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is engaged in eating the other. What to believe about Al Lambert? There were the old-man things he said about himself and the young-man way he looked. Enid had chosen to believe the promise of his looks. Life then became a matter of waiting for his personality to change.""
"" 'I'm saying, Melissa, that children are not supposed to get along with their parents. Your parents are not supposed to be your best friends. There's supposed to some element of rebellion. That's how you define yourself as a person.' 'Maybe it's how you define yourself,' she said. 'But then you're not exactly an advertisement for happy adulthood.' ""
""His affliction offended his sense of ownership. These shaking hands belonged to nobody but him, and yet they refused to obey him. They were like bad children. Unreasoning two-year-olds in a tantrum of selfish misery. The more sternly he gave orders, the less they listened and the more miserable and out of control they got. He'd always been vulnerable to a child's recalcitrance and refusal to behave like an adult. Irresponsibility and undiscipline were the bane of his existence, and it ww another instance of that Devil's logic that his own untimely affliction should consist of his body's refusal to obey him.""
"" Savoring my war wounds, I sit, and feel I deserve rich rewards. Spotting my mother's secret Benson & Hedges pack crammed into the wet dirt of a gangly potted geranium, I think about pulling one out and lighting up. Evie and I did it once. It hurt our throats, but the good kind of hurt. That's what we said. Are there cigarettes in every backyard, every garage, every toolshed or bird feeder?""
"" 'I don't know,' she says. 'There's always just been something about them...' There's almost a blush on her, like she's been caught without her clothes. She can't quite look at me.' 'I don't know,' she says. 'Like something had to break. It could only go on for so long, before something had to break.' 'That doesn't make any sense at all,' I say, shaking off a flinch deep insiee. 'You're not making any sense at all.' ""
""What did it feel like to her, seeing him there, trapped in his shadow, him leaning over as she sat on the bed? Evie, she had a jaw that clicked when she opened her mouth wide or when she ate sometimes. When he kissed her, did he hear it click, like a cocked gun? Did she open her mouth wide, like an animal, for him and did he hear it click like the say safety on a gun?""
""When I told Evie about it, in the quiet of our sleeping bags, she didn't say anything for the longest time, but I could hear her breathing. Then she said sometimes the ways boys need things so badly, like they could never stop needing, it almost scared her. But, she said, sometimes I feel like that too. She said, Lizzie, do you ever find yourself wanting so much you feel like you might disappear? Like all that you are is the wanting, and the rest of you just burns away?""
""In the depths of my sleepless nights I would turn to the Bible for comfort, only to find myself regaled yet again. Unto the woman God said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow though shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Oh, mercy. If it catches you in the wrong frame of mind, the King James Bible can make you want to drink poison in no uncertain terms.""
""He noticed the children less and less. He was hardly a father except in the vocational sense, as a potter with clay to be molded. Their individual laughter he couldn't recognize, nor their anguish. He never saw how Adah chose her own exile; how Rachel was dying for the normal life of slumber parties and record albums she was missing. And poor Leah. Leah followed him like an underpaid waitress hoping for the tip. It broke my heart. I sent her away from him on every pretense I knew. It did no good.""
"" 'He is the one wife belonging to many white men.' Anatole explained it this way:Like a princess in a story Congo was born too rich for her own good, and attracted attention far and wide from men who desire to rob her blind. The United States has now become the husband of Zaire's economy, and not a very nice one. Exploiting and condescending, in the name of steering her clear of the moral decline inevitable to her nature. 'Oh, I understand that kind of marriage all right,' I said. 'I grew up witnessing one just like that.' ""
""Silicon emas. There is no stepping in the same river twice. So say the Greek philosophers, and the crocodiles make sure. Ruth May is not the same Ruth May she was. Yam Htur. None of us is the same: Lehcar, Hael, Hada. Annaelro. Only Nathan remains essentially himself, the same man however you look at him. The other of us have two sides. We go to bed ourselves and like poor Dr. Jekyll we wake up changed.""
""A lot of money changed hands, true. None of this shocks me. You know what Robert Penn Warren said in All the King's Men. 'Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption, and he passes from the stench of the didie to the stink of the shroud.' Or something very close to that. Just because my hands happen to be clean doesn't mean I judge. I do not. So tell me what you've found. ""
""In one of the boxes he found a familiar looking book: Walden & Other Writings of Henry David Thoreau, with a very sixties dust jacket, a curvy, groovy Peter Max - like font. He'd often see that book on his father's desk, open to one of Thoreau's little essays. Sometimes he'd read from it at night. Lenny had loved Thoreau. He liked to quote one of Thoreau's maxims: 'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.' He wondered whether his father had lived a life of quiet desperation. Probably so. At least he heard the beat of a different drummer, that was for sure.""
""Rick decided to drive over to Hyde Square in the Boston suburb of Jamaica Plain and just start asking questions. Sometimes you could pick up details from the ground. His old boss at the Globe, a gruff editor who favored bow ties and boldly striped shirts with white contrasting collars, was always ordering his reporters to get out of their cubicles and get off their phones and their butt and start poking around. 'Just showing up,' he liked to say, 'is half of good reporting.' It was time to show up.""
""He was weak with terror, and the terror came from uncertainty, not knowing why he was here and what was about to happen. The money, of course - that was obvious: it was the money that put him here. But what his abductors planned to do with him he had no idea. That was even more terrifying, the not knowing.""
""I have often imagined him returning home a week early that summer, to a mother, to a father; and having to watch his father's face as the boy told him he failed because he was weak. A trifling incident in a whole lifetime, you may say. Not true. It could have changed him forever, his life with other men, with women, with daughters, and especially sons. We like to believe that in this last quarter of the century, we know and are untouched by everything; yet it takes only a very small jolt, at the right time, to knock us off balance for the rest of our lives.""
""She accused him of having a double standard and he said no; no, she was as free as she was before she met him. She asked him how long he had felt this way, had he always been like this or was it just some French bullshit he had picked up this winter. He had always felt this way. By now she could not weep. Nor rage either. All she could feel and say was: Why didn't I ever know any of this? You never asked, he said.""
""Her eyes are filling. Besides Steve, Vinnie is the only person outside her family she has told about the rape, but his eyes did not change when she said it; could not change, she knows, for the sorrow in them is so deep. She has known him in passion and mirth, and kissing his forehead, his unbridled left cheek, his chin, she feels as dangerous as Ray, more dangerous with her slender body and pretty face.""
"" 'You know why I like my waitress friends so much? And what I learned from them? They don't have delusions. So when I'm alone at night - and I love it, Larry - I look out my window, and it comes to me: we don't have to live great lives, we just have to understand and survive the ones we've got. You're smiling again' 'Tears too.' 'Wipe them fast before my friends think something terrible is happening.' ""
""Stalin came to Putin in his dream and told him how to rule Russia. 'Destroy all the democrats without mercy, then eliminate their parents, and hang their children, and incinerate their relatives and their friends, and kill their pets, and paint your Kremlin office blue,' said Stalin's ghost. 'Why blue?' Said Putin.""
""Dominika shuddered inside herself. The Kremlin. Majestic buildings, gilded ceilings, soaring halls, all filled to the rafters with deceit, rapacious greed, and cruelty. A Palace of Treason. And now Dominika - another sort of traitor - was coming to the palace, to smile and lick the impassive face of the tsar.""
""At the end of their walk, she watched Thorstad in his ridiculous, wide brimmed slap a trudge up Thirty-First Street NW towards the lights of M street. Zarubina hoped this TRITON was intelligent. It didn't reassure her that he had chosen a code name for himself - a worrying possible indicator of the ego of a megalomaniac. Besides monarch of the sea, ""triton"" in Russian meant 'newt.' Not exactly the most heroic cryptonym for an agent, thought Zarubina, but perhaps naming oneself after a squirmy amphibian will prove to be apt.""
""Olivier Salad - Boil potatoes, carrots, and eggs. Dice vegetables, eggs, and dill pickles into quarter-inch cubes and place into a bowl. Similarly dice boiled ham or shrimp, or both, and add to the bowl. Add sweet baby peas. Season aggressively and add fresh chopped dill. Incorporate with freshly made mayonnaise.""
"No matter how much you run, no matter how hard you try, Death will find you and get what it wants. Death is the one thing that will not and can not be denied."
"I just got back from Sarah's place. I snuck into the back yard, crept down by her window, just to, you know, peek in. There were plenty of times when we were dating that I would show up at the window and she'd stand on a chair, open up the window and the screen. We'd talk like that, her standing on the chair and me lying in the grass, sometimes holding hands through the window, through half of the night."
"Couldn't sleep last night, or the night before that - the morbid memory was stuck in my head all night and I still can't get the image of Donnie out of my head. Every time I close my eyes he's sitting in the dirt, his face leaking eye pus and gore, looking up at me, pleading. Just wanting me to help."
"All day I waited for the sun to go down. Since it went down, I've still just been sitting here, waiting for it to come up. But I know that the sun coming up again won't make a difference. It won't change a God damned thing. Because I am finally beginning to understand what I am. I am death. And the death has to end. These nightmares I call 'life' have to end."
"Excel stood up. 'A question before you go.' 'Sir?' 'Did a friend tell you to push Sanderline Johnson out the window?' 'No, sir. But aren't you glad he jumped?'"
"I never said I knew; she never pressed me. Biographies, gaps: I hid Meg, she bypassed whoring. I never said I kill people. I never said Lucille K. made me a voyeur. She said I used people up. She said I only bet on rigged games. She said ranking cop/lawyer put some distance on white trash. She said I never got burned. I said three out of four - not bad."
" Rattle rattle - I shoved Moms some change. 'Listen, have you ever seen the man staying in this room?' 'Praise Jehovah, I seen him from the back.' 'Have you ever seen him with someone else?' 'Praise Jehovah, no I hasn't.' 'When was the last time you saw the girl in my photographs?' 'Praise Jehovah, when she did that striptease at Bido's maybe four, or five days ago.' 'When was the last time she brought a trick to this front room here?' 'Praise Jehovah, maybe a week ago.' 'Where does she solicit her tricks?' 'Praise Jehovah, I don't know.' 'Has she brought the same man more than once? Does she have regular tricks?' 'Praise Jehovah, I has taught myself not to look at the faces of these sinners.' "