Nobody knew literature and history better than these people, nobody could write better Russian than they, nobody despised our times more profoundly. For these characters civilization meant more than daily bread and a nightly hug. This wasn’t, as it would seem, another lost generation. This was the only generation of Russians that had found itself, for whom Giotto and Mandelstam were more imperative than their own personal destinies. Poorly dressed yet somehow still elegant…broken, growing old, they still retained their love for the non-existent (or existing only in their balding heads) thing called ‘civilization.
We ate the lunch with painful politeness and avoided discussing its taste. I made sure not to apologize for it. This was a rule of mine. I don't believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make... Usually one's cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is vile,...then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile- and learn from her mistakes.
Listening (had there been any one to listen) from the upper rooms of the empty house only gigantic chaos streaked with lightning could have been heard tumbling and tossing, as the winds and waves disported themselves like the amorphous bulks of leviathans whose brows are pierced by no light of reason, and mounted one on top of another, and lunged and plunged in the darkness or the daylight (for night and day, month and year ran shapelessly together) in idiot games, until it seemed as if the universe were battling and tumbling, in brute confusion and wanton lust aimlessly by itself.