I know a conquistador when I see one. I know all about making a splash. It isn't hard. If you shout loud enough, for long enough, a crowd will gather to see what all the noise is about. It's the nature of crowds. They don't stay long, unless you give them reason.

Love is deep, a mystery - who wants to understand its every particular?

It's remarkable, being alive.

Fearlessness in the face of your own ineptitude is a useful tool to have.

We thought she was alright, we thought her sorrows were ordinary ones, We had no idea.

What he remembers with perfect clarity is sitting on a train headed for Madrid, feeling the sort of happiness he imagines spirits might feel, freed of their earthly bodies but still possessed of their essential selves.

I seem to produce a novel approximately once every three years.

Maybe – let's not rule it out – this will be the song that cuts clean, the one that matters, the one that sheds standard-issue romance and reveals, under its old skin, a raw blood-red devotion deeper than comfort, a desire profounder than schoolboy satisfaction, a yearning cold and immaculate and unstoppable as snow.

I was still struggling to invent an alternate version of myself, someone proud and unflinching who could gaze levelly at his father and tell him his last secrets. I wanted him to know me; to have seen me. I'd been waiting until I was settled and fulfilled, so as to present myself in terms of a happiness he might understand.

I love movies, I love television, I love narratives of all kinds.

Mizzy has, again, wandered into the garden, like a child who feels no fealty to adult conversation.

Yes, she thinks, this probably how it must feel to be a ghost. It's a little like reading, isn't it—that same sensation of knowing people, settings, situations, without playing any particular part beyond that of the willing observer.

I was not beautiful, but I believed I had the possibility of beauty in me.

I know, speaking for myself, no matter what I'm able to do, no matter what book comes out and ends up on paper, I always had something bigger and grander in my head.

It's the world, you live in it, even if some boy has made a fool of you.

As any student of literature knows, the books that last are often not the books that are most popular when they are written. Both 'Moby Dick' and 'The Great Gatsby' were complete failures, critically and commercially, when they first appeared.

Who was it who said, the worst thing you can imagine is probably what's already happening? Shrink phrase. Not untrue, though.

They hope they'll learn to be happier together. They also yearn, sometimes, for the point at which misery becomes so profound as to leave them no alternative.

He pours himself more coffee, draws out a final, really final, line on the tabletop. Maybe he's just not … awake enough to be gifted. Maybe one day, why not today, he'll bust out of his lifelong drowse.

Gratitude is the only appropriate response to everything that happens.

One always has a better book in one's mind than one can manage to get onto paper.

Here's a secret. Many novelists, if they are pressed and if they are being honest, will admit that the finished book is a rather rough translation of the book they'd intended to write.

What did Shakespeare say? Or little lives are rounded with a sleep.

The only difference was one of them was trying to make a perfect cake and one of them was trying to write a great book. But if we remove that from the equation, it's the same impulse and they are equally entitled to their ecstasies and their despair.

I have to keep reminding myself that almost everybody is always lying.

The secret of flight is this -- you have to do it immediately, before your body realizes it is defying the laws.

I see myself..in those pages as she goes back and forth, enjoying simply enjoying the beauties of the moments then chastising herself for having ‘no edge' being simple and worse, harmless.

You live with the threat of my extinction. I live with it too.

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end. But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

A writer should always feel like he's in over his head.

She thinks of how much more space a being occupies in life that it does in death; how much illusion of size is contained in gestures and movements, in breathing. Dead, we are revealed in our true dimensions, and they are surprisingly modest.

She will never mention to Leonard that she'd planned on fleeing, even for a few hours. As if he were the one in need of care and comfort--as if he were the one in danger.

Then the feeling moves on. It does not collapse; it is not whisked away. It simply moves on, like a train that stops at a small country station, stands for a while, and then continues out of sight.

I suspect any serious reader has a first great book, just the way anybody has a first kiss.

Remember, Peter: you are some hybrid of friend and hired help. You have latitude, but you can't get uppity.

I know you. I've seen it. And, knowing all, I release you.

Parents are the mystified criminals, blinking in the docks, making it all the worse for themselves with every word they utter.

She is, above all else, tired; she wants more than anything to return to her bed and her book. The world, this world, feels suddenly stunned and stunted, far from everything.

She has failed. She wishes she didn't mind. Something, she thinks, is wrong with her.

There is no one there to see it. The world is doing what it always does, demonstrating itself to itself. The world has no interest in the little figures that come and go, the phantoms that worry and worship, that rake the graveled paths and erect the occasional rock garden, the bronze boy-man, the hammered cup for snow to fall into.

There is still that singular perfection, and its perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other.

Most of us are safe. If you're not a delirious dream the gods are having, if your beauty doesn't trouble the constellations, nobody's going to cast a spell on you.

It is only after knowing him for some time that you begin to realize you are, to him, an essentially fictional character, one he has invested with nearly limitless capacities for tragedy and comedy not because that is your true nature but because he, Richard, needs to live in a world peopled by extreme and commanding figures.

She'll be willing to meet someone who can hold her interest for more than a few months, and that guy will teach her about domestic deepenings, the modest reliable thrill of the familiar, which as almost everyone but Liz knows has been the way of human happiness since humanity was born.

It helps, of course - let's not get carried away - if you'er a young prince like Mizzy, and you've actually got something of value to destroy in the first place.

I used to want to be a cheerleader, I told them. Before I decided to just go to hell.

It seems good enough; parts seem very good indeed. She has lavish hopes, of course—she wants this to be her best book, the one that finally matches her expectations.

And yet, it gives Peter nothing. Not now. Not today. Not when he needs... more. More than this well-executed idea. More than the shark in the tank meant to frighten, more than the guy on the street meant to say something pithy about celebrity. More than this.

Were you relieved, maybe just a little, when they lifted you up (you weighed almost nothing by then) and shoved you into the oven? Did it seem unanticipated but right, somehow - did it strike you as satisfying, as a fate finally realized - when they slammed the door behind you?