Quote: The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin

“I was afraid. Not so much of prison or poverty or even unhappiness, though I thought about all that – we all did … But mostly, I was afraid of failure. I was so terrified that my reality would not measure up to my dreams, that I would never quite fulfil my promise.”

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Quote: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

“The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again. That is their mystery and their magic.”

Quote: Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker

“With men I feel like a bird in the clutch of a cat, terrified, caught in a nightmare of confinement, wanting nothing but to get free and take a shower. “Birds don’t take showers,” Jude said, and I had to give her instances of birdbaths and lawn sprays and sprinkling systems and fountains in parks, before I could get to what I had to tell her, which was nothing so simple as the cat-and-bird relationship, even without the shower, because I’m not afraid of women; they don’t terrify me slightly. Up to a point they fascinate me, and I said so.”

Quote: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

“If I were a different kind of person, I might say that this whole incident is a metaphor for life in general: things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.”

Quote: The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink

“[…] beauty is apparently relative. I felt both better- and worse- looking than before. Better because I was suddenly reminded that the world is not all college girls and trophy wives, and worse because everything in the whole universe is contagious if you look at it long enough. Just opening your eyes puts you in front of a mirror, psychologically speaking. Garbage in, garbage out. Or rather, garbage goes in, but you never get rid of it. It just lies there turning to dust and slowly wafting a thin layer of grime on to every other object in your brain. Scraping the gunk off is not only a major challenge, but the chief burden of human existence. that’s why I keep things so clean. Otherwise I would see little flecks of […] shit everywhere I looked …”