The book worm, the foreign-looking one with the dark, close set eyes an the Roman nose, who had never been sought after or cherished; who had always been left alone, to read.
A stray fact: insects are not drawn to candle flames, they are drawn to the light on the far side of the flame, they go into the flame and sizzle to nothingness because they're so eager to get to the light on the other side.
You have started the book with this bubble over your head that contains a cathedral full of fire - that contains a novel so vast and great and penetrating and bright and dark that it will put all other novels ever written to shame. And then, as you get towards the end, you begin to realise, no, it's just this book.
Like my hero Virginia Woolf, I do lack confidence. I always find that the novel I'm finishing, even if it's turned out fairly well, is not the novel I had in my mind. I think a lot of writers must negotiate this, and if they don't admit it, they're not being honest.
She'd never imagined it like this-when she thought of someone (a woman like herself)losing her mind, she'd imagined shrieks and wails, hallucinations; but at that moment it had seemed clear that there was another way, far quieter; a way that was numb and hopeless, flat, so much so that an emotion as strong as sorrow would have been a relief.
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.