Take the moment seriously. What is serious in this life? Is dying serious? Even newborn babies can do it. Even the stupidest animals know how to die. Don’t be afraid, Dad, death isn’t a serious matter, it’s nothing, the lagoon is like the very softest of laps, and the mud is a warm cradle enfolding you as night falls, a mattress of foaming chocolate on which you will rest, on which we will rest.
Rafael Chirbes, On the Edge (2013), New Directions, 2016, p. 210
To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness. Beneath your world of skies and faces and buildings exists a rawer and older world, a place where surface planes disintegrate and sounds ribbon in shoals through the air.
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), Scribner, 2014, p. 333
He says, “You are very brave.” She lowers the bucket. “What is your name?” He tells her. She says, “When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” He says, “Not in years.”
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), Scribner, 2014, p. 394
“You know how diamonds—how all crystals—grow, Laurette? By adding microscopic layers, a few thousand atoms every month, each atop the next. Millennia after millennia. That’s how stories accumulate too. All the old stones accumulate stories.
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), Scribner, 2014, p. 43
Mau used to believe that taking pictures ruined memories. The trick was to be in the Eiffel Tower and not take a photo of it. Who cared about trite, touristy photos? The act of taking a photograph interfered with memory, because instead of living in the moment you were thinking about preserving it for posterity. It sacrificed the present for the sake of a future evocation. But now he felt capable of something altogether different. He didn’t capture a moment with his camera; he captured an object. He created a new image that others could see, understand, and admire.
Lorea Canales, Becoming Marta (2011), AmazonCrossing, 2016, p. 187
[…] what most successfully survives the passing of time is a lie. You can embrace a lie and hold on to it without it ever deteriorating. Truth, on the other hand, is unstable, it rots, dilutes, slips away, escapes. The lie is like water, colorless, odorless, tasteless, and yet even though we can’t taste it on our palate, it nonetheless refreshes us.
Rafael Chirbes, On the Edge (2013), New Directions, 2016, p. 132
If money serves any purpose at all, it at least buys innocence for your descendants. Which is no small thing. It removes you from the animal kingdom and places you in the moral kingdom.
Rafael Chirbes, On the Edge (2013), New Directions, 2016, p. 59