Ian Mcewan Quotes (displaying: 1 - 10 of 261 quotes)
And now she was back in the world, not one she could make, but the one that had made her, and she felt herself shrinking under the early evening sky. She was weary of being outdoors, but she was not ready to go in. Was that really all there was in life, indoors or out? Wasn't there somewhere else for people to go?
The Western world may have been undergoing a steady transformation, the young may have thought they had discovered a new way of talking to each other, the old barriers were said to be crumbling from the base. But the famous 'hand on the shoulder' was still applied, perhaps less frequently, perhaps with less pressure.
?ll wait for you. Come back.The words were not meaningless, but they did?t touch him now.It was clear enough - one person waiting for another was like an arithmetical sum, and just as empty of emotion.Waiting.Simply one person doing nothing, over time, while another approached. Waiting was a heavy word.
He did. He researched her. Someone told him that she had a special interest in John Milton. It did not take long to discover the century to which this man belonged. A third-year literature student in Bear?s college who owed him a favor (for procuring tickets to a Cream concert) gave him an hour on Milton, what to read, what to think. He read?Comu? and was astounded by its silliness. He read through?Lycidas??Samson Agonistes? and?Il Penseros? stilted and rather prissy in parts, he thought. He fared better with?Paradise Los? and, like many before him, preferred Sata?s party to Go?s. He, Beard, that is, memorized passages that appeared to him intelligent and especially sonorous. He read a biography, and four essays that he had been told were pivotal. The reading took him one long week. He came close to being thrown out of an antiquarian bookshop in the Turl when he casually asked for a first edition of?Paradise Lost? He tracked down a kindly tutor who knew about buying old books and confided to him that he wanted to impress a girl with a certain kind of present, and was directed to a bookshop in Covent Garden where he spent half a ter?s money on an eighteenth-century edition of?Areopagitica? When he speed-read it on the train back to Oxford, one of the pages cracked in two. He repaired it with Sellotape.
It's at moments like these in a game that the essentials of his character are exposed: narrow, ineffectual, stupi?and morally so. The game becomes an extended metaphor of character defect. Every error he makes is so profoundly, so irritatingly typical of himself, instantly familiar, like a signature, like a tissue scar or some deformation in a private place.