So many nurses had turned into emotionally disturbed handmaidens of the war, in their yellow-and-crimson uniforms with bone buttons.

As always, books are mystical creatures to him.

I want to die on your chest but not yet she wrote sometime in the 13th century of our love.

In my work I sometimes borrow Claire's nature, as well as her careful focus on the world.

As a writer, one is busy with archaeology.

There is a story, always ahead of you. Barely existing. Only gradually do you attach yourself to it and feed it. You discover the carapace that will contain and test your character. You will find in this way the path of your life.

He will hear the rain before he feels it, a clicking on the dry grass, on the olive leaves.

All I ever wanted was a world without maps.

It's a responsibility of the writer to get the reader out of the story somehow.

I had never thought words erotic. Sometimes I really do like to talk more than fuck. Sentences. Buckets of this buckets of that and then buckets of this again. The trouble with words is that you can really talk yourself into a corner. Whereas you can't fuck yourself into a corner.

For those cities that were great in earlier times must have now become small, and those that were great in my time were small in the time before.… Man's good fortune never abides in the same place.

You have to protect yourself from sadness. Sadness is very close to hate. Let me tell you this. This is the thing I learned. If you take in someone else's poison – thinking you can cure them by sharing it – you will instead store it within you.

At night, returning from work, Anil would slip out of her sandals and stand in the shallow water, her toes among the white petals, her arms folded as she undressed the day, removing layers of events and incidents so they would no longer be within her. She would stand there for a while, then walk wet-footed to bed.

To rest was to receive all aspects of the world without judgement.

But what did we really know, even of one another? We never thought of a future. Our small solar system - what was it heading towards? And how long would each of us mean something to the others?

So we came to understand that small and important thing, that our lives could be large with interesting strangers who would pass us without any personal involvement.

You don't want to write your own opinion, you don't want to just represent yourself, but represent yourself through someone else.

A woman should never learn to sew, and is she can she shouldn't admit to it.

Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.

He had approached the villa on that night of the storm not out of curiosity about the music but because of a danger to the piano player. The retreating army often left pencil mines within musical instruments. Returning owners opened up pianos and lost their hands.

Character, that subtle art, disappeared among them during those days and nights, existed only in a book or on a painted wall.

To write about someone like myself would be very limiting.

We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography – to be marked by nature.

But the young sapper was already on his back, the rifle aimed, his eye almost brushing the beards of Noah and Abraham and the variety of demons until he reached the great face and was stilled by it, the face like a spear, wise, unforgiving.

The jackal with one eye that looks back and one that regards the path you consider taking. In his jaws are pieces of the past he delivers to you, and when all of that time is fully discovered it will prove to have been already known.

During certain hours, at certain years in our lives, we see ourselves as remnants from the earlier generations that were destroyed. So our job becomes to keep peace with enemy camps, eliminate the chaos at the end of Jacobean tragedies, and with 'the mercy of distance' write the histories.

How does this happen? To fall in love and be disassembled.

Swoon, I'll catch you. - Almásy.

Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human.

Kirpal's left hand swoops down and catches the dropped fork an inch from the floor and gently passes it into the fingers of his daughter, a wrinkle at the edge of his eyes behind his spectacles.

This is the thing I learned. If you take in someone else's poison—thinking you can cure them by sharing it—you will instead store it within you.

It's an odd state to be in, blowing the whistle on your home country.

Moments before sleep are when she feels most alive, leaping across fragments of the day, bringing each moment into the bed with her like a child with schoolbooks and pencils. The day seems to have no order until these times, which are like a ledger for her, her body full of stories and situations.

What he would say, he cannot say to this woman whose openness is like a wound, whose youth is not mortal yet. He cannot alter what he loves most in her, her lack of compromise, where the romance of the poems she loves still sits with ease in the real world. Outside these qualities he knows there is no order in the world.

Women want everything of a lover. And too often I would sink below the surface. So armies disappear under sand. And there was her fear of her husband, her belief in her honour, my old desire for self-sufficiency, my disappearances, her suspicions of me, my disbelief that she loved me. The paranoia and claustrophobia of hidden love.

For echo is the soul of the voice exciting itself in hollow places.

When you're writing, it's as if you're within a kind of closed world.

It was easy to fool the three of us (tween boys), who were naked with innocence.

But there was a discipline, it was just that we didn't understand. We thought he was formless, but I think now he was tormented by order, what was outside it. He tore apart the plot—see his music was immediately on top of his own life. Echoing. As if, when he was playing he was lost and hunting for the right accidental notes.

Everything that ever happened to me that was important happened in the desert.

She had grown older. And he loved her more now than he had loved her when he understood her better, when she was the product of her parents. What she was now was what she herself had decided to become.

Small talk plunged to its death around him.

When we are young we do not look into mirrors. It is when we are old, concerned with our name, our legend, what our lives will mean to the future. We become vain with the names we own, our claims to have been the first eyes, the strongest army, the cleverest merchant. It is when he is old that Narcissus wants a graven image of himself.

If he closes his eyes he sees the streets of Asia full of fire. It rolls across cities like a burst map, the hurricane of heat withering bodies as it meets them, the shadow of humans suddenly in the air. This tremor of Western wisdom.

Mockery had gone too far during Hearts. There had been an attempt at strangulation and then her ear had been perforated by a fork.

It doubles your perception, to write from the point of view of someone you're not.

I'm a Canadian citizen. But I always want to feel at home in Sri Lanka. I'm a member of both countries.

From this point on in our lives, she had whispered to him earlier, we will either find or lose our souls.

We own the country we grow up in, or we are aliens and invaders.