What does it mean to live in truth? Putting it negatively is easy enough: it means not lying, not hiding, and not dissimulating.

There are metaphysical problems, problems of human existence, that philosophy has never known how to grasp in all their concreteness and that only the novel can seize.

I believe that in matters of the heart there is no such thing as compromise. Love means that you give each other everything.

Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches.

There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weights so heavy as the pain one feels for someone, with someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.

A man who loses his privacy loses everything, Sabina thought.

The characters in my novels are my own unrealized possibilities.

Too much faith is the worst ally.

Whoever wishes to remember must not stay in one place, waiting for the memories to come of their own accord! Memories are scattered all over the immense world, and it takes voyaging to find them and make them leave their refuge.

Everyone is wrong about the future.

How she wished she could learn lightness!

He felt responsible for his fate, but his fate felt no responsibility for him.

Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil.

He reflected that he had only one life and that he wanted to live it somewhere else.

He was not at all sure he was doing the right thing, but he was sure he was doing what he wanted to do.

Waking up was sheer delight for him: he always showed a naive and simple amazement at the discovery that he was back on earth; he was sincerely pleased. She, on the other hand, awoke with great reluctance, with a desire to stave off the day by keeping her eyes closed.

By giving the love act a name, if only an innocent little word like, "it," he paved the way for other words, words that would reflect physical love as in a set of mirrors.

Is it right to raise one's voice when others are being silenced? Yes.

But man, because he has only one life to live, cannot conduct experiments to test whether to follow his passion (compassion) or not.

Vertiginously close? Can proximity cause vertigo? It can. When the North Pole comes so close as to touch the South Pole, the earth disappears and man finds himself in a void that makes his head spin and beckons him to fall.

The termites of reduction have always gnawed away at life: even the greatest love ends up as a skeleton of feeble memories.

The scene taking place illustrates an immemorial error of men: having appropriated the role of seducers, they never even consider any women but the ones they might desire; the idea doesn't occur to them that a woman who is ugly or old, or who simply stands outside their own erotic imaginings, might want to possess them.

She surrendered her body to the judgment of someone else's eyes- and that was a source of anxious uncertainty.

The history of music is mortal, but the idiocy of the guitar is eternal.

She blushed. It is a beautiful thing when a woman blushes; at that instant her body no longer belongs to her; she doesn't control it; she is at its mercy; oh, can there be anything more beautiful than the sight of a woman violated by her own body!

Joking is a barrier between man and the world. Joking is the enemy of love and poetry.

What he did succeed in seeing behind him in his mind's eye was tiny, compressed like a closed accordion.

He looked down at her and realized how lovely she was and how difficult it would be to tear himself away. But the world beyond the window was even more beautiful. And if he was leaving a beloved woman for its sake, then that world would be even more enhanced by the price of a betrayed love.

I want you to be weak. As weak as I am.

That conversation with the taxi driver suddenly made clear to me the essence of the writer's occupation. We write books because our children aren't interested in us. We address ourselves to an anonymous world because our wives plug their ears when we speak to them.

We pass through the present with our eyes blindfolded. We are permitted merely to sense and guess at what we are actually experiencing. Only later when the cloth is untied can we glance at the past and find out what we have experienced and what meaning it has.

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.

She was experiencing the same odd happiness and odd sadness as then. The sadness meant: we are at the last station. The happiness meant: we are together.

Isn't that exactly the definition of biography? An artificial logic imposed on an 'incoherent succession of images'?

She refused at first, saying it would make a mockery of their love. She loved him too much to admit that what she thought of as unforgettable could ever be forgotten. Finally, of course, she did as he asked, but without enthusiasm. The notebooks showed it: they had many empty pages, and the entries were fragmentary.

Even a life of suffering has a mysterious value. Even a life on the threshold of death is a thing of splendor. Anyone who has not looked death in the face does not know this, but I know it ...

The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but that this humiliation is seen by everyone.

Once her love had been publicized, it would gain weight, become a burden.

We are longtime outcasts, flying through the emptiness of time in a straight line.

In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make.

Horror is a shock, a time of utter blindness. Horror lacks every hint of beauty. All we can see is the piercing light of an unknown event awaiting us. Sadness, on the other hand, assumes we are in the know... The light of horror thus lost its harshness, and the world was bathed in a gentle, bluish light that actually beautified it.

If I imagine the genesis of a novelist in the form of an exemplary tale, a "myth," that genesis looks to me like a conversion story: Saul becoming Paul; the novelist being born from the ruins of his lyrical world.

Laughter was like an enormous trap waiting patiently in the room with them; but hidden behind a thin wall.

Now he too tried hard to think of something else (it was the only thing they had in common), so as to be able to go on making love to her.

That idea would be embarrassing because there is something excessive about it, it would take to much energy to defend (while the best possible progressive idea, so to speak, defends itself)...

There is nothing harder to explain than humor.

The novel's spirit is the spirit of complexity. . . . The novel's spirit is the spirity of continuity . . . a thing made to last, to connect the past with the future.

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.

Because love is continual interrogation. I don't know of a better definition of love.