It's sometimes more torment for a man, Mr. Fagin said, to consider what might have been than to live with what is.

Alice McDermott

Alice McDermott

Profession: Author
Nationality: American

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She recalled how Pauline had fallen off a bus one night, late, went skidding into Creedmoor. In a novel, it would have portended the fall they were all about to take.

He could have left out the fact that one had but a few hours to live, while the other had another life entirely still before him. This one. With her arms around her.

My children have gone to Catholic school... Part of their whole education is talking about the inner life and looking at your life, even though you're only 15 or 16 - thinking about your mortality, thinking about the value of your life, thinking about your obligations.

The cold wind made it difficult to breathe, as if it could snatch your next breath before you had time to swallow it, and.

The story she then told was as all attempts at sympathy are: an effort to match in form and size and detail what another has known: to hold one experience next to another the way lovers and children match fingers and hands, as if these two, side by side, are linked by their likeness, are both identical and unique.

Isn't it funny how we all die at the same time? Always at the end of our lives. Why worry?

The banging at the door was his excuse to turn away—some people had their coats in there—and while he stood with his back to her she dressed again and unlocked the door and walked out. She smiled at the taunts and jeers of her friends and when someone asked, Where's Mike? she said, I think I killed him, which got a great laugh.

Character is primary. What happens as far as plot and events is not as intriguing to me as what's happening inside this particular person.

The rich can get whatever they want put into the papers.

Now, as the labor began, it was the storm she recalled. The thrash of wind and trees and the quiet terror that had kept her flat in her bed, wide awake, anticipating disaster but unable to rise to avert it—or to shake her husband, to call for help. There was only silence now, in the small living room.

I have not won far more awards than I have won.

It was not the future they'd been objecting to, but the loss of the past. As if it was his fault that you could now have one without the other.

The book had convinced her (there in the softly lit waiting room of the abortion clinic) that despite war and death and pain )despite the way the girl with a woman who might have been her mother seemed to gulp air every once in a while, a handkerchief to her mouth), life was lovely, rich with small gifts: a warm fire, a fine meal, love.

After a long run of almost thirty years, you get to the point where you say, 'These are my concerns.' It's not so much this is what I set out to claim - it is a kind of refrain.