Life’s not complete without some kind of haunting. There on the very fringes of tranquillity… should be at least one or two pacing wolves.
— From Asunder by Chloe Aridjis.
I was staring at you and you were staring at me and right then it was sort of like love, wasn’t it?
— From This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz.
Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster? […] If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or […] is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?
— From The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
You are, you know, you were the nearest thing to a real story to happen in my life.
— From Renata Adler’s Pitch Dark, a refrain.
Is it always the same story, then? Somebody loves and somebody doesn’t, or loves less, or loves someone else. Or someone is a good soul and someone is a villain. And there are just these episodes, anecdotes, places, pauses, hailings of cabs, overcomings of obstacles, or instances of being overcome by them, illness, accidents, recoveries, wars, desires, welcomings, rebuffs, baskings (rare, not so long), pinings (more frequent, perhaps, and longer), actions, failures to act, hesitations, proliferations, endings of the line, until there is death.
— From Pitch Dark by Renata Adler.