Where does the good go

Notable Quotables

Excerpts from Jess Walters “Beautiful Ruins” — yet another not so great book:

“What kind of wife would I be if I left your father simply because he is dead?”

“He tossed rocks in the sea. He endured the teasing of the fisherman. He peeked in on his dying mother. And he waited – as he always had – for life to come and find him.”

“If he wasn’t entirely happy, he wasn’t unhappy, either. Rather, he found himself inhabiting the vast, empty plateau where most people live, between boredom and contentment.”

“Act as if ye have faith and it shall be given you.”

“You’re not dying,” Pasquale said./ “I am already dead inside,” she said. “You should push me out into the sea and drown me like that old sick cat of yours.”/ Pasquale straightened. “You said my cat ran away, while I was at University.”/ She shot him a glance from the corner of her eye. “It is a saying.”/ “No. It’s NOT a saying! There is no saying such as that. Did you and Papa drown my cat while I was in Florence?”

“My book is about an American who fights in Italy during the war, loses his best friend, and falls out of love with life. The man returns to America, where he hopes to teach English and write a book about his disillusionment. But he only drinks and broods and chases women. He can’t write. Perhaps it is his guilt over being alive while his friend died. And guilt is sometimes a kind of envy.”

“A writer needs four things to acheive greatness Pasquale: desire, disappointment, and the sea.”/ “That’s only three.”/ Alvis finished his wine. “You have to do disappointment twice.”

“Words and emotions are simple currencies. If we inflate them, they lose their value, just like money. They begin to mean nothing. Use ‘beautiful’ to describe a sandwich and the word means nothing.”

“If you leave this village you will die a whore’s death, blind and thirsty, scratching at your dry dead birth hole.”

“God, this life is a cold, brittle thing. And yet it’s all there is.”

“So this is what ghosts are like, Michael thinks. Not white corporeal figures haunting your dreams, but old names buzzed over cell phones.”

“Our names are writ in water anyway, as Keats said, so what’s it bloody matter?”

“Amid all those drinks, they’d told their stories: first the bland, self serving story one tells a stranger – family, college, career — and then the truth.”

“This is what happens when you live in dreams, he thought: you dream this and you dream that and you sleep right through your life.”

“Some memories remain close; you can shut your eyes and find yourself back in them. These are first-person memories – I memories. But there are second-person memories, too, distant you memories, and these are trickier: you watch yourself in disbelief.”

“She realized that lying to everyone about what had happened had been like holding her breath for the last year.”

“Pasqo, the smaller the space between your desire and what is right, the happier you will be.”

“His aunt never made breakfast, even though Carlo had insisted for years that a hotel hoping to cater to French and Americans must offer breakfast. (It’s a lazy man’s meal, she always said. What laggard expects to eat before doing any work?)”

“He wished he could reassure his mother: a man wants many things in life, but when one of them is also the right thing, he would be a fool not to choose it.

“At peace? Who but the insane would ever be at peace? What person who has enjoyed life could possibly think one is enough? Who could live even a day and not feel the sweet ache of regret?

“This idea that true sacrifice is painless.”

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