It was a difficult time to be Irish, a difficult time to be twenty-one years of age and a difficult time to be a man who was attracted to other men. To be all three simultaneously required a level of subterfuge and guile that felt contrary to my nature.

There is cruelty in the world, Eliza, you can see that, can't you? It surrounds us. It breathes on us. We spend our life trying to escape it.

Father laughed, which upset Bruno even more; there was nothing that made him more angry than when a grown-up laughed at him for not knowing something, especially when he was trying to find out the answer by asking questions.

Bruno was jealous, he had to wear stupid pants en shoes while the boys at the other side of the fence were wearing nice pyjamas al day long.

A home is not a building or a street or a city or something so artificial as bricks and mortar. A home is where one's family is...

We're none of us normal. Not in this fucking country.

Neither your mother nor I have any imagination at all and we certainly didn't bring you up to have one.

Children's authors don't talk down or patronise their younger readers.

In his heart, he knew that there was no reason to be impolite to someone, even if they did work for you. There was such a thing as manners after all.

It has always astonished me, Georgy Daniilovich, that those who are most repulsed by autocratic or dictatorial rule are among the first to eliminate their enemies once they take on the mantle of power themselves.

If it wasn't for the fact that Bruno was nowhere near as skinny as the boys on his side of the fence, and not quite so pale either, it would have been difficult to tell them apart. It was almost (Shmuel thought) as if they were all exactly the same really.

He had never felt so ashamed in his life; he had never imagined that he could behave so cruelly. He wondered how a boy who thought he was a good person really could act in such a cowardly way towards a friend.

He suddenly became convinced that if he didn't do something sensible, something to put his mind to some use, then before he knew it he would be wondering round the streets having fights with himself and inviting domestic animals to social occasions too.

He'd always been a handsome man, of course, and his good looks had stayed with him into old age, as they so often do with undeserving men.

If there is one thing I've learned in more than seven decades of life, it's that the world is a completely fucked-up place. You never know what's around the corner and it's often something unpleasant.

Seated opposite me in the railway carriage, the elderly lady in the fox-fur shawl was recalling some of the murders that she had committed over the years.

The dot that became a speck that became a blob that became a figure that became a boy.

Well you've been brought here against your will, just like I have. If you ask me, we're all in the same boat. And it's leaking.

The people I see from my window. In the huts, in the distance. They're all dressed the same.' 'Ah, those people,' said Father, nodding his head and smiling slightly. 'Those people...well, they're not people at all, Bruno.' Bruno frowned. 'They're not?' he asked, unsure what Father meant by that.

In that direction only pain lies.

And then the room went very dark and somehow, despite the chaos that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let it go.

But there was something about the new house that made Bruno think that no one ever laughed there; that there was nothing to laugh at and nothing to be happy about.

He looked the boy up and down as if he had never seen a child before and wasn't quite sure what he was supposed to do with one: eat it, ignore it or kick it down the stairs.

Situations like that always made Bruno feel very uncomfortable because, in his heart, he knew that there was no reason to be impolite to someone, even if they did work for you. There was such a thing as manners after all.

The thing about exploring is that you have to know whether the thing you've found is worth finding. Some things are just sitting there, minding their own business, waiting to be discovered. Like America. And other things are probably better off left alone. Like a dead mouse at the back of the cupboard.

Some things are just sitting there, waiting to be discovered. Other things are probably better off left alone.

It is possible, you know, to drift off to an unknown world and find happiness there. Maybe even more happiness than you've ever known before.

Is it really that easy for the innocent to be corrupted?

He decided to talk to the Hopeless Case.

You're my best friend, Shmuel,' he said. ‘My best friend for life.

I don't buy into the idea that an Irish writer should write about Ireland, or a gay writer should write about being gay.

His position, like so many of his ilk, was one of uncontested and unearned respect.

And shortly after that the blob became a figure. And then, as Bruno got even closer, he saw that the thing was neither a dot nor a speck nor a blob nor a figure, but a person.

I've spent so much time pushing the boat out that I forgot to jump on and now it's out beyond the harbour on the high seas, but it's very nice to look at.

The moral of the story', he repeated, leaning forward and placing his hands flat on the desk in front of him, ‘is that every so often a natural disaster comes along, an act of God, and it blows all the dust away and when it does people can see that whatever's left underneath ain't so pretty. You get it?' Denton.

Do you enjoy being a writer, Mrs Avery? asked Julian.

There's things that happen in a person's life that are so scorched in the memory and burned into the heart that there's no forgetting them.

It's not easy making a living as a writer, and for many years I worked at a Waterstones in Dublin. It was a good environment for an aspiring writer, with lots of events and authors appearing.

It's a wonderful thing to write for children.

I blame Charles Dickens for the death of my father'.

I married up several times. And then across once or twice. And then beneath me. I never quite found the right level somehow. Perhaps I should have married diagonally or in a slightly curved direction.

Astonishing how everyone is willing to go abroad to fight for the rights of foreigners while having such little concern for those of their own countrymen at home.

When he closed his eyes, everything around him just felt empty and cold, as if he was in the loneliest place in the world. The middle of nowhere.

Other things are probably better off left alone. Like a dead mouse at the back of a cupboard.

It's a big world, isn't it?' said Georgie. 'Do you think they hate each other on other planets too?

Please don't let Julian die, I asked God. And please stop me from being a homosexual. Only when I stood up and walked away did I realize that that had been two prayers, so I went back and lit a second candle, which cost me another penny.

I think perhaps the adults we become are formed in childhood and there's no way around it.

A line came into my mind, something that Hannah Arendt once said about the poet Auden: that life had manifested the heart's invisible furies on his face.

How can something still feel so painful after twenty-eight years, I asked myself. Is there no recovery from the traumas of our youth?