She recalled how Pauline had fallen off a bus one night, late, went skidding into Creedmoor. In a novel, it would have portended the fall they were all about to take.

Those of us who know the transporting wonder of a reading life know that it little matters where we are when we talk about books or meet authors or bemoan the state of publishing because when we read, we are always inside, sheltered in that interior room, that clean, well-lighted, timeless place that is the written word.

At the beginning of every semester, I ask my graduate students whether there is something I should read that will help me understand their work.

Any fiction writer who assumes that a character is typical no doubt runs the risk of stumbling into cliche and stereotype.

All joy was thin ice to Sister Lucy.

Any adjective you put before the noun 'writer' is going to be limiting in some way. Whether it's feminist writer, Jewish writer, Russian writer, or whatever.

Why not? Bread was what you wanted over the long haul, when you got right down to it. When you got right down to it, you wouldn't want a lifetime of cake.

My parents were both first-generation Irish Catholics raised in Brooklyn.

There was another tear streaming down his windblown cheek and as he replied she lifted the handkerchief in her hand and wiped it away, feeling the not unpleasant pull of his beard against the thin cotton.

And then George approaching, his hand stuck to his hat and the hat bent into the onslaught.

I wouldn't want to tweet to anyone who would be interested in my tweets.

EITHER THE WIND kept them all away or the entire population took to heart the notion that the beaches were closed after Labor Day. In.

He pulled the door closed and the wind became just the slightest rush of air against the rolled-up windows. There was suddenly a pleasant warmth. Their voices, suddenly, seemed rich and sure now that they could speak quietly, now that their words were no longer scattered by the buffeting wind.

I'm a novelist. I'm not a crusader, and I'm not an editorial writer. And I'm not writing fiction to convince anybody of anything.

My children have gone to Catholic school... Part of their whole education is talking about the inner life and looking at your life, even though you're only 15 or 16 - thinking about your mortality, thinking about the value of your life, thinking about your obligations.

Isn't it funny how we all die at the same time? Always at the end of our lives. Why worry?

He was not tall, but the fingers that held his hat against his overcoat were exceptionally long and thin. She saw how they moved one at a time against the dark brown felt, pressing themselves against the fabric almost imperceptibly, like a pulse under the skin. The way a child's fingers might move in sleep.

I think 'Charming Billy' ultimately is a novel about faith and what we believe in and, above all, what we choose to believe in.

I've got to hear the rhythm of the sentences; I want the music of the prose. I want to see ordinary things transformed not by the circumstances in which I see them but by the language with which they're described. That's what I love when I read.

There was... her capacity to believe. There was as well her capacity to be deceived, since you can't have one without the other...

The paper detritus that she had somewhere read, or had heard it said, trails armies, or was it (she had seen a photograph) the scraps of letters and wrappers and snapshots that blow across battlefields after all but the dead have fled?

Much of my experience with language was formed in the church, which has an oral tradition. There are lots of repetitions in prayers and song refrains. There's a sense of incantation, that if you call not once and not twice but for a third time, the spirit appears.

Loss is inevitable - you have to be blind or naive to think otherwise.

Michael had slipped beyond the crest of the dune. Jacob was lying flat out now, on his stomach, his little men all before him, and Annie had followed her single soldier up the dune to a grassy patch where the wind whipped her dark hair and the blowing sand made her squint, even.

For immigrant generations especially, family is the first structure, or shelter, for a people who are in exile.

It was not about the sea or the sand, but burying her feet there had seemed to cure what had worried her...

And a single green soldier was plucked from the shoe box of reservists and replacements and tossed her way, through the air. She picked him up from the sand. The mold had shaped his features precisely, a strong jaw and a sharp nose, the little combat helmet and a sash of ammunition across his chest. Unlike.

In grammar school I read 'Act One' by Moss Hart, and being a playwright struck me as the most magical and romantic career anyone could have... But I never did write a play.

Where are you headed, George? she asked him. He shouted something unintelligible into the wind. Have you eaten yet? she.

And then the wind paused completely, as it will in April, a sudden silence and maybe even the hint of warmth from the sun, so.

It was already there, he said. Someone left it behind. They didn't want it. The super said they couldn't even rent the apartment for a few weeks because it takes up the whole bedroom and nobody wanted to pay to take it out. Can you believe it? A Steinway. Lucky that you play, she said.

Read everything. Write all the time. And if you can do anything else that gives you equal pleasure and allows you to sleep soundly at night, do that instead. The writing life is an odd one, to say the least.

In the arc of an unremarkable life, a life whose triumphs are small and personal, whose trials are ordinary enough, as tempered in their pain as in their resolution of pain, the claim of exclusivity in love requires both a certain kind of courage and a good dose of delusion.

I love a well-plotted story. But I'm just not that kind of writer, and it's not necessarily by choice. When I manipulate plot, I feel I lose authenticity.

The windshield wipers were like a new beat in the day's rhythm. Mary.

It's sometimes more torment for a man, Mr. Fagin said, to consider what might have been than to live with what is.

I don't want to write about violence, and I don't want to hang a plot on a murder. I think it's cheap.

In church she had prayed for contentment. She was thirty, with no husband in sight. A good job, an aging father, a bachelor brother, a few nice friends. At least, she had asked—so humbly, so earnestly, so seriously—let me be content.

All my friends had grandparents who had accents. I thought all grandparents were supposed to have accents. My friends were all second-generation, as I was.

I think it's handy for a dramatist of any sort, if I can call myself that, to make use of weddings and wakes, to make use of those moments and those rituals that cause us to pause and look back or look forward and understand that life has changed.

Mr. Persichetti called his patients God's mistakes. He pressed.

It might have been the first time in my life I understood what an easy bond it was, to share a neighborhood as we had done, to share a time past.

The sand here, at their feet as they looked down from the dry cliff, was dark gray, the color of a thundercloud. The.

They placed the blankets and the pillow and the toys into the trunk, depositing as they did a residue of sand that would be there throughout the winter. Standing.

He was pale as salt. Although.

It was either God's reply or just April again, in the wind tunnel that was midtown.

I am trying to cultivate the notion that constantly misplacing one's cell phone is a charming eccentricity... my children aren't buying it.

With her silence alone she held off, for a moment longer, the suggestion that the worst was over, the tree had fallen, the storm was passing, and time, as she was given to saying, was marching on: school tomorrow, work for their father, laundry, shopping, meals. For just a moment more, she let them linger.

The world was a cruder, more vulgar place than the one I had known. This was the language required to live in it, I supposed.