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The Red Magician (1982)
- All page numbers from the mass-market first edition published by Timescape/Pocket Books, ISBN 0-671-41161-6
- A magician’s business is with words. He may use other things to help him along—amulets and so forth—but it is within words that the power lies. To choose the wrong words may mean death. And so magicians learn, from the first, to use as few words as possible, to answer as few questions as we can.
- Chapter 4 (p. 45)
- She felt that she had seen beneath the mask of the world, and she could not quite believe in that mask again.
- Chapter 8 (p. 113)
- Your father was a very wise man. But you cannot acquire his wisdom by pretending to have it already.
- Chapter 8 (p. 121)
- You think you can be as heroic as he was, simply by dying. But he doesn’t take courage to die. That’s easy. It takes courage to live.
- Chapter 9 (p. 137)
- You are wrong, Rabbi. You did not kill your daughter. And it does not matter now if you could have done something to save her or not. To think about what might have happened is useless. You can think about what might have happened, turn it over and over in your mind until you can’t think of anything else. You can plan your revenge or—or suicide. But none of that can change the past. The dead—your daughter and my parents—they would want us to go on. To live.
- Chapter 9 (p. 143)
The Dream Years (1985)
- All page numbers from the mass-market edition published by Bantam Spectra, ISBN 0-553-25693-9
- “You can’t ask questions like that,” André said. “The unconscious has its own logic.” But he looked a little puzzled, a little too tied to the world of logic and order.
- Chapter 2 (p. 33)
- Collective insanity is boring. Individual insanity—that’s what interests me.
- Chapter 2 (p. 40)
- They passed a closed police station. Someone had written on the wall, “It is forbidden to forbid.”
- Chapter 3 (p. 55)
- Suddenly he didn’t care if the revolution were lost or won, only that it be over.
- Chapter 3 (p. 59)
- Movies should be silent, like dreams.
- Chapter 4 (p. 64)
- “A novel?” André laughed. “The novel’s dead—don’t waste your time. The novel takes a small—oh, infinitely small—cut-and-dried section of so-called reality and calls it art. Your life is art. Don’t waste it trying to write a novel.”
- Chapter 4 (p. 68)
- Claude sighed. “All right, you’re a poet,” he said. “I don’t understand why poets can’t make the effort to get along like everyone else.”
“Ah,” Robert said. “But we poets can’t understand why everyone else is making the effort.”
- Chapter 4 (p. 79)
- I’ve got to live up to their expectations by acting irresponsibly again.
- Chapter 4 (p. 83)
- “Robert, how have you been? You look good. They’ve been telling me a fantastic story, I don’t believe a word of it…”
Robert sat down at the table next to Paul and ordered grenadine. “It’s all true,” he said. “Every word of it, even the parts they made up.”
- Chapter 10 (p. 187)
- He knew that there could never be an apology enormous enough for what he had just said. He didn’t care. He was tired of people who told him what state his soul was in, André and Antonin and a few of the others who took their cue from André. He had gone through something, something so strange that even now he was not sure what it meant, but he knew he was somehow stronger for it. He would not give that up to be a follower again.
- Chapter 10 (p. 190)
- You think you know what your life will be like thirty years from now and suddenly you’re doing something you couldn’t have planned five minutes ago.
- Chapter 10 (p. 195)
A Mask for the General (1987)
- All page numbers from the mass-market edition published by Bantam Spectra, ISBN 0-553-27312-4
- “I can’t believe this,” Mary said, whispering urgently. “Every time I talk to you I think I’ve heard the worst, and then you come along and say something even stupider.”
- Chapter 7 (p. 119)
- “Lots of people would give anything to be in your place.”
“I’m not lots of people,” Mary said. “I’m me. That’s what I’ll never forgive, that you did all this without even asking me.”
- Chapter 8 (p. 137)
- Maybe art couldn’t survive it if was sponsored by the government. Maybe art always had to be subversive.
- Chapter 10 (p. 184)
- You really can’t choose the people you’re going to like.
- Chapter 11 (p. 191)
- Layla’s story, though not always accurate, was far more interesting than the truth.
- Chapter 12 (p. 214)
- All page numbers from the hardcover first edition published by Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0-671-67531-1
- Three of her children were in school. At some time the government had recorded that Mama had three children of school age, so every day Mama sent three different children off to school. The teachers never seemed to notice.
- Chapter 3, “Twenty-fifth November Street: 1” (pp. 35-36)
- She was already caught in the enchanted net of the bookshelves. She walks down rows of books about history, science, cooking, a large section devoted to car repair. Her feet on the linoleum floor, and the young man turning pages, made the only sounds in the store. It’s like drinking, Claire thought, delighted, running her fingers over the spines. Worse, because the spell lasts longer. If you read, don’t drive.
- Chapter 7, “The Jewel King’s Palace” (p. 76)
- “It would make a good tourist attraction,” Mitchell said.
Jara looked at him oddly, and for a moment he feared he’d said the wrong thing again. Then Jara laughed. “You Americans,” he said. “That is all you think about, your tourist attractions. You are the great spectators. The other countries of the world put on their shows for you, display their ruins, their pottery, their dances and religions. And you watch. You watch because your country has no past of its own. Is that right?”
Mitchell shrugged. He had never really given it much thought.
“But you are right,” Jara said. “It would make a good tourist attraction. That would be one way we could finance the excavation.”
Ah ha, Mitchell thought. You laugh at the Americans, but when you need money for something we’re the first people you think of.
- Chapter 7, “The Jewel King’s Palace” (p. 90)
- We are all tourists in each others’ lives. We all have monuments and ruins, places of strange beauty and forbidden sites chained off and locked securely so that no visitors can get in. And none of us has the guidebook to anyone else, or even the list of most commonly used phrases. We just have to get along the best we can.
- Chapter 11, “A Trip into the Mountains” (p. 128)
- That’s what’s missing, she thought. Everyone in the city is so passionate about things. Here they are only passionate about their religion. They’ve lost everything else.
- Chapter 14, “One Way to Twenty-fifth November Street” (p. 171)
- She sat silent for a moment. The real world always lay out there waiting, ready to ambush you with something you could not control. The history you’ve made up for your own private kingdom turns out to be the national epic of some obscure country.
- Chapter 15, “Casey and Mama” (p. 179)