I heard about all of these, and I care about... none of them.
Maybe a sign that I need to spend less time on the Internet.
Several days passed.
Was Mrs. Wilcox one of the unsatisfactory people—there are many of them—who dangle intimacy and then withdraw it? They evoke our interests and affections, and keep the life of the spirit dawdling round them. Then they withdraw."
— E.M. Forster, Howards End (in class we talked about how this passage could also describe the Seattle Freeze)
"I booked the Swedish massage for you," Curt said.
"Thank you," she said. Then, in a lower voice, she added, to make up for her peevishness, "You are such a sweetheart."
"I don’t want to be a sweetheart. I want to be the fucking love of your life," Curt said with a force that startled her.
—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
Saunders has revealed that he initially conceived the story as his first novel—in which Jeff, the protagonist, escapes the testing facility and hides in a nearby town; but, Saunders admitted, ‘it didn’t really have much life in it.’
Not much life, or too much: few offhand statements are as revealing of the ethic of the contemporary story form, in which survival, or hope, seems dead, while death seems alive. (Walter Benjamin, famously: ‘Death is the sanction for everything that the storyteller can tell.’) Saunders tactfully and wisely preferred to stick to his premise at the expense of narrative, which means at the expense of ‘escape.’ His stories don’t flee or meander into a wider world, into that unnamed, ongoing town outside the testing facility—they’re caught inside their boxes."
— Nicholas Dames, "Story Time," Public Books (stunningly eloquent)
— Bob, on our college newspaper
— George Eliot, Middlemarch
The Great Columbia Book Slide of 1934 (via Paris Review)