I teach intermittently, and while I enjoy it, I don't find that it's a calling for me.

I write totally spontaneously. I actually write fiction by hand - that always seems to startle people. I think the reason I do that is to bypass the thinking part of me and get to the more unconscious part, which is where all the good ideas seem to be.

You will never know how much I understand you.

He wore a thin silk scarf—little more than a cravat—and a bowler, but he was famously, almost comically hardy. Dexter had never seen him sweat even wearing a dinner suit in dead summer. He'd a quick knifelike walk that required Dexter to stride in earnest to keep up, although he was several inches taller.

I think the big lesson I've learned is that it's very hard to write satire in America because almost immediately, whatever you've thought of turns out to come true, or sometimes it already was true.

I think ethical ambivalence is a kind of innoculation, a way of excusing yourself in advance for something you actually want to do. No offense.

I knew as far back as 2001 that I would write a book called 'A Visit From the Goon Squad,' though I had no idea what kind of book it would be.

What he needed was to find fifty more people like him, who had stopped being themselves without realizing it.

It made me alert, like someone had scrubbed mint all over my skin. I'd walk into that stinking, miserable prison and for the next three hours, a wise and beautiful woman would float out of the wreckage of my life, and her words and thoughts and tiniest movements were precious.

I was peeling apart in layers. I was breaking into bits. She was coming apart at the seams … my head buzzing with a confusion of junk noise, white noise, space junk, a junkyard of noisy thought that made me long instead for a lovely, petaled silence.

I was on a very bumpy plane ride, an overnight flight. I was so miserable, and I pulled out 'David Copperfield,' and I forgot how scared and tired I was, and I thought, 'This is what reading should be.' I'm utterly transported out of my current situation.

Cheating is like a girl's maidenhead. Doesn't matter if she's done it once or a hundred times; she's ruined just the same.

Because our dominance won't arise from subjugating peoples. We'll emerge from this war victorious and unscathed, and become bankers to the world. We'll export our dreams, our language, our culture, our way of life. And it will prove irresistible.

Lying perfectly still, they would gaze at each other in thick exhaustion and nothing would seem to divide them: they could float inside each other freely as fish drifting through windows of underwater castles.

I'm partial to epic poetry, which might be surprising given that I don't write poetry at all. The combination of rollicking storytelling with musical language seems to me the highest achievement.

The seconds pass. I know what's going on because it's the same thing that always happens: give me something nice, something I love or want or need, and I'll find a way to grind it into dust.

Knowing all of this makes us one step closer to being real, but not completely. When does a fake Mohawk become a real Mohawk? Who decides? How do you know it's happened?

No one is waiting for me. In this story, I'm the girl no one is waiting for.

I listened to classic rock and roll, and punk rock. 'Goon Squad' provides a pretty accurate playlist of my teenage years, though it leaves out 'The Who,' which was my absolute favorite band.

All her excitement had seeped away, leaving behind a terrible sadness, an emptiness that felt violent, as if she'd been gouged.

I spend so long writing each of my novels that by the time I'm done with one, I'm ready to discover a totally different world.

I hope to keep writing journalism as long as I write fiction; it's afforded me such amazing adventures and opportunities. It does take a lot of time, so it's hard to do both at once, but I try to do a big journalism piece every couple of years, and I'll hopefully continue with that.

I came for this reason: I want to know what happened between A and B.

If you've been around as long as I have, watching the literary scene, then you know that who's in and who's out changes by the year. It's really a very fluid situation that requires that the person who is having the good luck now isn't having it a year or two from now.

I felt more doubtful than usual with 'Goon Squad,' because I knew that the book's genre wasn't easily named - Novel? Stories? Novel-in-stories? - and I worried that its lack of a clear category would count against it. My hopes for it were pretty modest.

How do you know a gangster? Usually, the room goes a little quiet when he walks in.

One futuristic novel that had a huge impact on me was Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein,' which is kind of science fiction plus Gothic.

I've led a sheltered, virtuous life, she said.

Bernadette longs for this moment as if it had already passed, as if it could have been. Yet here it is.

I think literary theory satisfied a deep love I have for big, encompassing narratives about the world and how it works - which are usually, in the end, more creative visions unto themselves than illuminating explanations.

For me, New York is about anonymity; that's the draw. It's not at all about other people in my business being nearby. It's that I can get on the subway and eavesdrop on conversations that I would never have access to otherwise. That's why I stay. That's why I could never leave.

I find myself thinking more about the past as I get older... maybe because there's just more of it to think about. At the same time, I'm less haunted by it than I was as a younger person. I guess that's probably the ideal: to reach a point where you have access to all of your memories, but you don't feel victimized by them.

Listen to me, Sasha, he said. You can do it alone. But it's going to be so much harder.

That's how New York looked: like a gorgeous, easy thing to have, even for me.

The problem was precision, perfection; the problem was digitization, which sucked the life out of everything that got smeared through its microscopic mesh. Film, photography, music: dead. An aesthetic holocaust! Bennie knew better than to say this stuff aloud.

I think there are ways in which we censor ourselves; that's the most dangerous kind of censorship - that's how hegemony works.

Water laughing softly down a black stone wall.

Structural Dissatisfaction: Returning to circumstances that once pleased you, having experienced a more thrilling or opulent way of life, and finding that you can no longer tolerate them.

Between books, I have to throw out everything I did before, because the tools I've used to write the previous book will not only not work for the next project, they will ruin it.

I love working with genre. And to me, the Victorian novel is the flourishing ancestor I'm always trying to access when I write.

We're the survivors. Not everyone is. But we are.

Kissing Mother Superior, incompetent, hairball, poppy seeds, on the can.

In a way, I'm always trying to do something I'm not qualified to do. So I feel that lack of qualification. And I'm scared. And I have a tendency to think things may not/probably won't work out. That's my basic mindset.

He'd chanced upon his favorite hour: A premonition of dawn without any visible sign of it.

I don't really begin with ideas about genre. I certainly wrote a gothic novel, 'The Keep,' that conformed to and, in some ways, played with every convention I knew of to work with in the gothic, but the way I came to it was very instinctive and visceral.

I grew up in the '70s, when people talked on the phone - and just talked more. I remember the phone was the epicenter of our house. I spent hours every evening as a teenager waiting for the phone to ring and talking to my friends.

The way that Dickens structured his books has a form that we most readily recognize now from, say, the great T.V. series, like 'The Wire' or 'The Sopranos.' There's one central plot line, but then from that spin off all kinds of subplots.

When I pick up a book that's, you know, wreathed in laurels, I expect a lot, and that doesn't give the book its best chance to shine.

Sometimes I'll watch teenagers and find myself not quite believing I'm older than they are - even wondering, delusionally, if they can see any difference between us.