Ian Mcewan Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 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.
Becoming drunk is a journey that generally elates him in the early stage?he's good company, expansive, mischievous and fun, the famous old poet, almost as happy listening as talking. But once the destination is met, once established up there on that unsunny plateau, a fully qualified drunk, the nastier muses, the goblins of aggression, paranoia, self-pity take control. The expectation now is that an evening with John will go bad somehow, unless everyone around is prepared to toil at humouring and flattering and hours of frozen-faced listening. No one will be.
But this first clumsy attempt showed her that the imagination itself was a source of secrets: once she had begun a story, no one could be told. Pretending in words was too tentative, too vulnerable, too embarrassing to let anyone know. Even writing out the she saids, the and thens, made her wince, and she felt foolish, appearing to know about the emotions of an imaginary being. Self-exposure was inevitable the moment she described a character's weakness; the reader was bound to speculate that she was describing herself. What other authority could she have?
Hol knyelmes nosztalgit bresztett benne az letrajz egy zldell, l vontatta, gyengd Anglia utn, hol nyomasztotta kiss, hogy nhny szz oldalba belefrhet egy egsz let- vegbe zrva, mint a hzi beftt. Milyen knnyen s maradktalanul eltnhet az egyni lt, a becsvgy, a csaldi s barti kapcsolatrendszer, minden, amit ddelget s biztosan magnak hisz az ember.
At best he read popular science magazines like the Scientific American he had now, to keep himself up-to-date, in layman's terms, with physics generally. But even then his concentration was marred, for a lifetime's habit made him inconveniently watchful for his own name. He saw it as if in bold. It could leap out at him from an unread double page of small print, and sometimes he could sense it coming before the page turn.
Watching him during the first several minutes of his delivery, Cecilia felt a pleasant sinking sensation in her stomach as she contemplated how deliciously self-destructive it would be, almost erotic, to be married to a man so nearly handsome, so hugely rich, so unfathomably stupid. He would fill her with his big-faced children, all of them loud, boneheaded boys with a passion for guns and football and aeroplanes.
He saw it for the first time: on the day he died he would be wearing unmatching socks, there would be unanswered e-mails, and in the hovel he called home there would still be shirts missing cuff buttons, a malfunctioning light in the hall, and unpaid bills, uncleared attics, dead flies, friends waiting for a reply and lovers he had not owned up to.