Donna Tartt Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 90 quotes)
Some things are too terrible to grasp at once. Other things - naked, sputtering, indelible in their horror - are too terrible to really grasp ever at all.It is only later, in solitude, in memory that the realization dawns: when the ashes are cold; when the mourners have departed; when one looks around and finds oneself - quite to one's surprise - in an entirely different world.
The possible, as it was presented in her Health textbook (a mathematical progression of dating, "career," marriage, and motherhood), did not interest Harriet. Of all the heroes on her list, the greatest of them all was Sherlock Holmes, and he was?t even a real person. Then there was Harry Houdini. He was the master of the impossible; more importantly, for Harriet, he was a master of escape. No prison in the world could hold him: he escaped from straitjackets, from locked trunks dropped in fast rivers and from coffins buried six feet underground.And how had he done it? He was?t afraid. Saint Joan had galloped out with the angels on her side but Houdini had mastered fear on his own. No divine aid for him; h?d taught himself the hard way how to beat back panic, the horror of suffocation and drowning and dark. Handcuffed in a locked trunk in the bottom of a river, he squandered not a heartbeat on being afraid, never buckled to the terror of the chains and the dark and the icy water; if he became lightheaded, for even a moment, if he fumbled at the breathless labor before hi? somersaulting along a river-bed, head over heel? he would never come up from the water alive. A training program. This was Houdin?s secret.
It's funny, but thinking back on it now, I realize that this particular point in time, as I stood there blinking in the deserted hall, was the one point at which I might have chosen to do something very much different from what I actually did. But of course I didn't see this crucial moment for what it actually was; I suppose we never do. Instead, I only yawned, and shook myself from the momentary daze that had come upon me, and went on my way down the stairs.
Could it be because it reminds us that we are alive, of our mortality, of our individual souls- which, after all, we are too afraid to surrender but yet make us feel more miserable than any other thing? But isn't it also pain that often makes us most aware of self? It is a terrible thing to learn as a child that one is a being separate from the world, that no one and no thing hurts along with one's burned tongues and skinned knees, that one's aches and pains are all one’s own. Even more terrible, as we grow old, to learn that no person, no matter how beloved, can ever truly understand us. Our own selves make us most unhappy, and that's why we're so anxious to lose them, don't you think?
I blinked at her. My shades were down and the hall was dark and to me, half-drugged and reeling, she seemed not at all her bright unattainable self but rather a hazy and ineffably tender apparition, all slender wrists and shadows and disordered hair, the Camilla who resided, dim and lovely, in the gloomy boudoir of my dreams.
There is to me about this place a smell of rot, the smell of rot that ripe fruit makes. Nowhere, ever, have the hideous mechanics of birth and copulation and death -those monstrous upheavals of life that the Greeks call miasma, defilement- been so brutal or been painted up to look so pretty; have so many people put so much faith in lies and mutability and death death death.
At any rate, this was the weekend that things started to change, that the dark gaps between the street lamps begin to grow smaller and smaller, and farther apart, the first sign that one's train is approaching familiar territory, and will soon be passing through the well-known, well-lighted streets of town. The house was their trump card, their fondest treasure, and that weekend they revealed it to me slyly, by degrees? the dizzy little turret rooms, the high-beamed attic, the old sleigh in the cellar, big enough to be pulled by four horses, astring with bells.
As I stood with her on the platform - she impatient, tapping her foot, leaning forward to look down the tracks - it seemed more than I could bear to see her go. Francis was around the corner, buying her a book to read on the train.'I don't want you to leave,' I said.'I don't want to, either.''Then don't.''I have to.'We stood looking at each other. It was raining. She looked at me with her rain-colored eyes. Camilla, I love you,' I said. 'Let's get married.