The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide (2004)
- The first human corpse I saw had housed my grandmother’s soul. I expected a serene mien. I expected to find her sleeping. I expected a transforming beauty, something painted by Millais. Instead, the old whore petticoats of skin.
- P. 19.
- Pills are the great infantilizers of our time. Adulthood can be wearying, and so some grow nostalgic about childhood dependencies.
- P. 22.
- Does any man have the right to dispose of his own life? This is the ultimate question of moral entitlement, and relevant only if right is relevant in this context, and it is not. A suicidal man cannot be concerned - and nor should he be - with questions of moral entitlement.
- P. 53.
- In wanting to kill himself, a man wants only to kill his consciousness of pain. I think therefore I am; therefore if I am not, I cannot think.
- P. 54.
- It takes real sangfroid to stare death out. Planning your own murder is a delicate undertaking, requiring as much foresight and paperwork as that invested by some girls into their first weddings.
- P. 93.
- Recollections fell from me in flakes, in scales. All that remained of me was all that remains of anyone: a kind of iridescence. There was a fear that I would never again feel substantial, a fear that I would be a kind of psychic amputee.
- P. 120.
- Psychological autopsies are also necessary to identify errors or oversights and expunge guilt.
- P. 148.
- Death is a process as straightforward as mowing a lawn.
- P. 188.
The Pure Weight of the Heart (1998)
- I think my parents were bewildered by my oddity.
- P. 3.
- In the second or so it had taken that bullet to leave its muzzle and penetrate my father's heart, between the pressure of that finger on the trigger and my father's soundless roar, somewhere in that infernal compression of decision, action, and consequence, I was forever altered.
- P. 25.
- Grief is a sphere in that it can be turned a quarter turn or turned a millionth, it can be spun on any axis and by any degree and still its aspect is the same.
- P. 28.
- From the standpoint of the present, the future is always a derangement of ambitions.
- P. 55.
- Ah, Caroline Brine - with your aversion to bohemians and homosexuals, students and foreigners, with your lacerated womb and scullery rat's brain, with your phosphorescent dildos and potted African violets, haunted by the ghost of your aborted baby and contaminated by envy, you freckled, you artificially tanned, you stupefyingly bland and vicious mediocrity - even after all these years, I still detest you.
- P. 114.
- Had he pushed my thighs apart right then and there, his sunned skin dark against the tallow pallor of my own nocturnal flesh, and plunged two of his thick fingers thick within me, I would have felt it apt, so natural.
- P. 131.
- The fragile teacups, the brittle relics, the frail upholstery and shattery glass: this was a world of little things and little ways, their delicacy presupposing their protection.
- P. 304.
- It can be said that deeply traumatized children grow into adults who live in the minefield of their own extreme emotions. Plus ca change.
- P. 326.
- The wrecked Allcock, who 15 minutes earlier had finished sodomizing Bock in the library, raised his eyebrows as if wonderfully surprised.
- P. 332.
- The conversion of mass to energy and light is the prerogative of every star.
- P. 357.