“Riding up the winding road of Saint Agnes Cemetery in the back of the rattling old truck, Francis Phelan became aware that the dead, even more than the living, settled down in neighborhoods.” William Kennedy, Ironweed.
“In the beginning, human beings created God who was the First Cause of all things and Ruler of heaven and earth.” Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
“Ye wake in a corner and stay there hoping yer body will disappear, the thoughts smothering ye, these thoughts; but ye want to remember and face up to things, just something keeps ye from doing it, why can ye no do it; the words filling yer head, then the other words; there’s something wrong; there’s something far far wrong; ye’re no a good man, ye’re just no a good man.” James Kelman, How Late it Was, How Late.
“I hadn’t been a shad fisherman all my days, only seven years, on the May evening when this story begins—in a johnboat, flat and square, anchored in heavy current by the bridge in Lambertville on the wall of the eddy below the fourth pier.” John McPhee, The Founding Fish.
“ ‘The Mass in English, Lolita in Latin, that’s the recipe for peace in our time,’ Father Guardian said—the Superior had a bee in his bonnet about liturgy.” Bruce Marshall, Father Hilary’s Holiday.
“From the west-facing window of the room in which Meriwether Lewis was born on August 18, 1774, one could look out at Rockfish Gap, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an opening to the West that invited exploration.” Stephen E. Ambrose, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West.
“They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible.” Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach.
“Five Points, the lower Manhattan neighborhood name for the five-corner intersection of Anthony, Orange, and Cross Streets, was originally verdant and bucolic, like everything else in America.” Tyler Anbinder, Five Points: The 19th-Century New York City Neighborhood That Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections, and Became the World’s Most Notorious Slum.
“We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child.” James Agee, A Death in the Family.
“It was a few days after the tenth of August, 1949, when I first saw the Mann Gulch fire and started to become, even in part consciously, a small part of its story.” Norman MacLean, Young Men and Fire.
“I am an artist first, a censor second.” Anthony Marra, The Tsar of Love and Techno.
“We search for certainty and call what we find destiny.” Michael Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan, Chances Are . . . Adventures in Probability.
“At the age of fifteen, my grandmother became the concubine of a warlord general, the police chief of a tenuous national government of China.” Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China.