1. To me comfort is like the wrong memory at the wrong place or time: if one is lonely one prefers discomfort. (p.7)

2. I could have easily avoided him; he had no umbrella and in the light of the lamp I could see his eyes were blinded with the rain. The black leafless trees gave no protection: they stood around like broken water-pipes; and the rain dripped off his stiff dark hat and ran in streams down his black civil servant’s overcoat. (p.8)

3. How twisted we humans are, and yet they say a God made us; but I find it hard to conceive of any God who is not as simple as a perfect equation, as clear as air. (p.11)

4. What a dull lifeless quality this bitterness is. If I could I would write with love, but if I could write with love, I would be another man: I would never have lost love. (p.12)

5. ‘Sar-ah,’ he called. ‘Sar-ah,’ spacing the syllables with an unbearable falsity. (p.18)

6. I cannot say how many days passed. The old disturbance had returned and in that state of blackness one can no more tell the days than a blind man can notice the changes of light. (p.19)

7. So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one’s days. (p.19)

8. – he slid the cliché in like a thermometer – (p.12)

9. I would have liked to have left that past time alone, for as I write of 1939 I feel all my hatred returning. Hatred seems to operate the same glands as love: it even produces the same actions. (p.27)

10. At the time it seemed to me that if I could have her once more – however quickly and crudely and unsatisfactorily – I would be at peace again: I would have washed her out of my system, and afterwards I would leave her, not she me. (p.28)

11. Lies had deserted me, and I felt as lonely as though they had been my only friends. (p.28)

12. [She refers to him by his first name, not his second:]  The name was like an insult. (p.32)

13. [Upon asking the P.I. about his son:] ‘How old is he?’

‘Gone twelve,’ he said as though his boy were a clock. (p.37)

14. I had become nearly human enough to think of another person’s trouble. (p.41)

15. Distrust grows with a lover’s success. (p.47)

16. […] for once we had hours of time ahead of us and so I squandered it all in a quarrel and there was no love to make. (p.55)

17. […] and her taste – as thin and elusive as water. (p.68)

18. I had no memory at all of Sarah and I was completely free from anxiety, jealousy, insecurity, hate: my mind was a blank sheet on which somebody had just been on the point of writing a message of happiness. I felt sure that when my memory came back, the writing would continue and that I should be happy. (p.69)

19. A look of worry came down like a curtain between us and she retired behind it with her private troubles. (p.78)

20. – a face that looked at itself too often in mirrors […] (p.78)

21. It’s a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved, when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love. (p.86)

22. The problem of pretending to be alive. (p.97)

23. [From Sarah’s diary:] I want men to admire me, but that’s a trick you learn at school – a movement of the eyes, a tone of voice, a touch of the hand on the shoulder or the head. If they think you admire them, they will admire you because of your good taste, and when they admire you, you have an illusion for a moment that there’s something to admire. (p.99)

24. The habits of his day were still the same and I loved them as one loves and old coat. I felt protected by his habits. I never want strangeness. (p.114)

25. If you really loved me, I thought, you’d behave like any other injured husband. You’d get angry and your anger would set me free. (p.116)

26. I wish I knew a prayer that wasn’t me, me, me. (p.117)

27. […] and pain belongs to You as happiness never does. (p.120)

28. […] the dusty inmates of the reading-room. (p.130)

29. It’s extraordinary how empty a house can be with three people in it. (p.133)

30. As long as one suffers one lives. (p.135)

31. […] and I remembered the exact timbre of her cry. (p.136)

32. Indifference and pride look very much alike. (p.146)

33. They at least were satisfied with the ceremony – you could almost tell it from their hats. (p.154)

34. [About a burial:] ‘It was so inhuman. Like a conveyor belt.’ (p.158)

35. […] and his answers fell like trees across the road. (p.171)

36. O God, You’ve done enough, You’ve robbed me of enough, I’m too tired and old to learn to love, leave me along for ever. (p.187)


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