Most men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies only a few rooms and has closed off wings where he never ventures.

We are, all of us, molded and remolded by those who have loved us, and though that love may pass, we remain none the less their work--a work that very likely they do not recognize, and which is never exactly what they intended.

What an odd creature you are, Bernard, with your constant fear of death! Do you never have a feeling, as I do, of utter futility? No? Doesn't it occur to you that the sort of life people like us lead is remarkably like death?

The effort of explaining, even of expressing himself, had become, with the years, more and more terrifying to him. Whether from laziness or from inability to find the right words, he had developed almost a passion for silence.

The Ladies of the Sacred Heart hung a thousand veils between their little charges and reality. Thérèse despised them for confounding virtue with ignorance.

To love someone is to see a miracle invisible to others.

No man can bear a child's cross.

I love Germany so dearly that I hope there will always be two of them.

We know well only what we are deprived of.

All is grace. If the Almighty is the Almighty, the last words for each of us belongs to Him.

Human love is often but the encounter of two weaknesses.

Men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies only a few rooms and has closed-off wings where he never ventures.

She was surprised to find that something from deep down in herself welled into her eyes and burned her cheeks: a few poor tears shed by one who never cried!

I felt at one and the same time quite close, within reach of my hand, and yet an infinite distance away, an unknown world of goodness. Often Isa had said to me: 'You, who see nothing but evil.... You, who see evil everywhere....' It was true, and it was not true.

No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.

Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread.

By the time dusk fell, he was back in his room. The last of the daylight lay like fine ashes on the roof-tops. He did not light his lamp, but sat by the fireplace in the dark, seeking in the far distance of his past some vague memory of a love-affair, some recollection of a friendship, with which to soften the hard tyranny of isolation.

It is not always the events that touch us personally that affect us the most.

Death was not a person… with a devil one could talk, with the worst of monsters one could reach some sort of understanding, make some kind of bargain… Death was horrible just because it was nothing, because it had no existence, because it smothered all it touched, turned everything to emptiness.

Even the genuinely good cannot, unaided, learn to love. To penetrate beyond the absurdities, the vices, and, above all, the stupidities of human creatures, one must possess the secret of a love which the world has now forgotten. Until that secret shall have been discovered, all betterment in conditions of life will be in vain.

The really pure in heart know nothing of what goes on around them each day, each night; never realize what poisonous weeds spring up beneath their childish feet.

He adored force and hated weakness. It is the crime of female natures.

If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.

I love Germany so much that I am glad there are two of them.

And yet, Zion has risen up again out of the crematoria and the slaughterhouses.

She [Thérèse] believed that the sublime splendour of ordinary existence was hidden from those who lived embedded in it, that for them the bread of every day must lose its savour. Only hearts like hers, fated to bear an infinite frustration, could feed on its intolerable absence.

I write whenever it suits me. During a creative period I write every day; a novel should not be interrupted.

Where does discipline end? Where does cruelty begin? Somewhere between these, thousands of children inhabit a voiceless hell.

I believe that only poetry counts ... A great novelist is first of all a great poet.

The sin against nature [is] - compulsory celibacy.

It never occurs to one to think whether she is pretty or ugly. One just surrenders to her charm.