Generally a woman’s vulnerability increased as time went on, as things progressed. All you could tell at the start was that if there was an edge of it then, there’d be more later
Alice Munro, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”
The thing is - nature is so exact, it hurts exactly as much as it is worth, so in a way one relishes the pain, I think. If it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t matter.
Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life”
Early in life, the world divides crudely into those who have had sex and those who haven’t. Later, into those who have known love, and those who haven’t. Later still - at least, if we are lucky (or, on the other hand, unlucky) - it divides into those who have endured grief, and those who haven’t. These divisions are absolute; they are tropics we cross.
Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life”
One grief throws no light upon another.
Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life”
Pain shows that you have not forgotten; pain enhances the flavor of memory; pain is a proof of love.
Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life”
For me, the excitement of a new novel lies almost entirely in the repudiation of the one I wrote before it. Otherwise I wouldn’t have the heart to do it.
Zadie Smith, “That Crafty Feeling”
After each book is done, I look forward to hating it (and I never have to wait long); I get a weird, inverse confidence from feeling destroyed, because being destroyed, having to start again, means I have space in front of me, somewhere to go.
Zadie Smith, “That Crafty Feeling”
To think I may have found a way to exist without love makes me feel superhuman and also like someone who is totally and completely doomed, for whom there is no hope at all. When I say that there is no cold like Iowa cold, probably what I mean is not just the temperature.
Lucy Miller, “Last Try”
In weather like this, any reason to get glum will do, but my main one lately is that not long ago, someone I loved stopped talking to me because of something I wrote. These are the occupational hazards of the trade: carpal tunnel and being disowned.
Lucy Miller, “Last Try”
Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be. But if you don’t love me, it would be better and more honest to say so.
Leo Tolstoy, “Anna Karenina”
Energy is based on love. And love can’t be drawn from just anywhere, it can’t be ordered.
Leo Tolstoy, “Anna Karenina”
He doesn’t have the weakness necessary to fall in love.
Leo Tolstoy, “Anna Karenina”
Somehow I had to get by in the narrow little world I belonged to.
Haruki Murakami, “Yesterday”
There are two essential kinds of loneliness: that of not having found someone to love, and that of having been deprived of the one you did love. The first kind is worse. Nothing can compare to the loneliness of the soul in adolescence.
Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life”
You lose the world for a glance? Of course you do.
Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life”