"He was running to the greenhouse, he was opening the door, the heat and smell of flowers were surrounding him like a cape. It was the last time he had been so simply happy, the last time he had known such uncomplicated joy. 'And here's my beautiful boy!' Luke would cry. 'Oh, Jude--I'm so happy to see you.'" (Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life)
"'I will come,' said Peter, but he sat on for a moment. What is this terror? what is this ecstasy? he thought to himself. What is it that fills me with extraordinary excitement?
It is Clarissa, he said.
For there she was." (Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway)
"What a lark! What a plunge! For so it had always seemed to her, when, with a little squeak of the hinges, which she could hear now, she had burst open the French windows and plunged at Bourton into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave; chill and sharp and yet (for a girl of eighteen as she then was) solemn, feeling as she did, standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen; looking at the flowers, at the trees with the smoke winding off them and the rooks rising, falling; standing and looking until Peter Walsh said, 'Musing among the vegetables?'—was that it?--'I prefer men to cauliflowers'—was that it?" (Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway)
"'Oliver, are you sleeping?' I would ask when the air by the pool had grown oppressively torpid and quiet.
Then his reply would come, almost a sigh, without a single muscle moving in his body. 'I was.'
That foot in the water—I could have kissed every toe on it. How often had I stared at his bathing suit while his hat was covering his face? He couldn't possibly have known what I was looking at.
'Oliver, are you sleeping?'
His toes flicking the water.
'About Heidegger's interpretation of a fragment by Heraclitus.'
Or, when I wasn't practicing the guitar and he wasn't listening to his headphones, still with his straw hat flat on his face, he would suddenly break the silence:
'What are you doing?'
'No, you're not.'
I was dying to tell him.
'Private,' I replied.
'So you won't tell me?'
'So I won't tell you.'
'So he won't tell me,' he repeated, pensively, as if explaining to someone about me." (André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name)
"The bullet is already in the brain; it won’t be outrun forever, or charmed to a halt. In the end it will do its work and leave the troubled skull behind, dragging its comet’s tail of memory and hope and talent and love into the marble hall of commerce. That can’t be helped. But for now Anders can still make time. Time for the shadows to lengthen on the grass, time for the tethered dog to bark at the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweat-blackened mitt and softly chant, They is, they is, they is." (Tobias Wolff, Bullet in the Brain)
"God loved the way humans loved one another; loved the way humans loved themselves; loved the genius on the cross who managed to do both and die knowing it." (Toni Morrison, Paradise)
"Without her glasses, my face would have been little more than a pinkish smudge among many, but she seemed to know it was me as soon as I lifted my head." (Lily King, Euphoria)
"The wind sound huffed, once, and then the moist thud jolted us, the sound of a watermelon breaking open, and for that moment everyone remained still and composed, as though listening to an orchestra, heads tilted to allow the ears to work and no belief coming in yet." (Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides)
"They had arranged to meet at 11 a.m. She arrived at 10:30. I know I must be there early or I won’t go at all. Why am I going. Am I in love. No. One doesn’t question. In love with the situation. Hope of love. Out of boredom. A few days by the sea. A hotel. Room overlooking sand. Gulls. Beach. Breakfast in bed. Meals served by gracious smiling waiters. But the land there is flat. Dreary. Endless. Though the sea. The sea. The whole Front to myself. But what if it rains all the time. It drizzled now as she looked out of the station. Cabs swished by. People rushed through barriers. Escape. Escape with my lover. But he isn’t even that. In her small room. On her single bed they had gone so far. Fully clothed. No we’ll wait it wouldn’t be fair I have to leave you soon. Now the weekend he would prove to be
She clutched her bag. Glanced at the clock. And there he was. His hat cuckoo-perched on an unfinished nest. Dressed in a new suit. Mac just cleaned over his arm. Hullo love. If people stopped to look they would think we were father and daughter on our way to an aunt’s funeral. They don’t look. But think dirty old man. As he takes my arm. My bag." (Ann Quin, A Double Room)
"The fish flat. Dry yellow. Little dishes with lumps of potatoes like ice cream dropped on a pavement. Vegetables as though chewed already. Looks good love doesn’t it? And it is good. It will be good. I can’t survive it all unless it’s going to be good. It’s up to me the whole thing. The next four days. Nights. I can love him. It will be all right once we’ve made it. Everything will be all right then. It’s just this interminable waiting." (Ann Quin, A Double Room)
"I waited a few moments to gather my thoughts before opening my lungs for the first time and with an almighty roar, one that must have been heard by the men in the pub below who came running up the staircase to discover the cause of such a racket, announced to the world that I had arrived, that I was born, that I was part of it all at last." (John Boyne, The Heart's Invisible Furies)
"The case comes in, or anyway it comes in to us, on a frozen dawn in the kind of closed-down January that makes you think the sun's never going to drag itself back above the horizon." (Tana French, The Trespasser)
"Yes, those were luminous September days. The afternoon light pearling, the mood alert, turned-on, compassionate." (Stephanie Danler, Sweetbitter)
"I didn't know how badly I had needed them and how I'd been waiting for them, but I endured it, my joy, don't ever forget this moment, and Simone said, 'Happy birthday, little one.'" (Stephanie Danler, Sweetbitter)
"My grandfather is Russian, he said, we never waste anything. And that, too, had made us laugh, though he was serious now as he poured, tilting the plastic flask so that the barest ribbon of liquid threaded perfectly into the carton." (Garth Greenwell, An Evening Out)
"She was dirty but what was a little dirt, I thought as I turned the latch, I should have let you in a long time ago, I said, I’m sorry... And then, because the dizziness didn’t pass or maybe because I wanted her warmth next to me, I lowered myself to the floor, I stretched myself out beside her and laid one hand on her flank. We’ll sleep, I said again, and she rolled onto her side, her stomach toward me, and placed one of her paws against my chest. It would leave a mark, I knew, I would have to scrub it out in the morning, but what did it matter, I thought as I closed my eyes, what does it matter, why not let it stay." (Garth Greenwell, An Evening Out)
"Most of the gyptians were sitting in a smoke-filled café facing the water, eating spice cakes and drinking strong sweet coffee at the long wooden tables under the fizz and crackle of some ancient anbaric lights." (Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass)
"She might have been alone in the world, but of course she never was..." (Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass)