There's no comfort, it seems, in the world of objects.

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

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Julian is bluff and sturdy, royal; he possesses a gracefully muscular, equine beauty so natural it suggests that beauty itself is a fundamental human condition and not a mutation in the general design.

What’s the most fundamental human urge?

Beauty is a whore. I prefer money.

But there are still the hours, aren't there? One and then another, and you get through that one and then, my god, there's another. I'm so sick.

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.

Venture too far for love... and you renounce citizenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port.

Beauty - the beauty Peter craves - is this, then: a human bundle of accidental grace and doom and hope. Mizzy must have hope, he must, he wouldn't shine like this if he were in true despair, and of course he's young, who in this world despairs more exquisitely than the young, it's something the old tend to forget.

He is still, at times, astonished by her. She may be the most intelligent woman in England, he thinks. Her books may be read for centuries.

I'm sure there are people who are content to run errands and report for work on time and wait, with an enlivening eagerness, for the lunch bell. I wish them well. They have, however, never been the subjects of novels, and in all likelihood, will never be.

Youth is the only sexy tragedy. It's James Dean jumping into his Porsche Spyder, it's Marilyn heading off to bed.

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.

That may have been when they took their vows: We are no longer siblings, we are mates, starship survivors, a two-man crew wandering the crags and crevices of a planet that may not be inhabited by anyone but us.

Men may congratulate themselves for writing truly and passionately about the movements of nations; they may consider war and the search for God to be great literature's only subjects; but if men's standing in the world could be toppled by an ill-advised choice of hat, English literature would be dramatically changed.

She will remain sane and she will live as she was meant to live, richly and deeply, among others of her kind, in full possession and command of her gifts.