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

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

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There is a beauty in the world, though it's harsher than we expect it to be.

He makes her think sometimes of a mouse singing amorous ballads under the window of a giantess.

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.

There's the appeal of the young thief who robs you, and climbs back down off your cloud. It's possible to love that boy, in a wistful and hopeless way. It's possible to love his greed and narcissism, to grant him that which is beyond your own capacities: heedlessness, cockiness, a self-devotion so pure it borders on the divine.

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.

If you live in certain places, in a certain way, you'd better learn to praise the small felicities.

He felt himself entering a moment so real he could only run toward it, shouting.

Isn't the universe full of gaseous elements?

Love, it seems, arrives not only unannounced, but so accidentally, so randomly, as to make you wonder why you, why anyone, believes even fleetingly in laws of cause and effect.

A full week of their mother's quiet fury over the fun they don't seem to be having and their father's dogged attempts to provide it...

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.

Youth is the only sexy tragedy.

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.

It's the country that would have him, since he lacked the necessary papers for more promising places.