Anita Brookner

The lessons taught in great books are misleading. The commerce in life is rarely so simple and never so just.

A man of such obvious and exemplary charm must be a liar.

There are moments when you feel free, moments when you have energy, moments when you have hope, but you canít rely on any of these things to see you through. Circumstances do that.

No blame should attach to telling the truth. But it does, it does.

Writing novels preserves you in a state of innocence--a lot passes you by--simply because your attention is otherwise diverted.

Accountability in friendship is the equivalent of love without strategy.

All good fortune is a gift of the gods, and . . . you donít win the favor of the ancient gods by being good, but by being bold.

What is interesting about self-analysis is that it leads nowhere--it is an art form in itself.

You can never betray the people who are dead, so you go on being a public Jew; the dead canít answer slurs, but Iím here. I would love to think that Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, but he doesnít.

Real love is a pilgrimage. It happens when there is no strategy, but it is very rare because most people are strategists.

A man can go from being a lover to being a stranger in three moves flat . . . but a woman under the guise of friendship will engage in acts of duplicity which come to light very much later. There are different species of self-justification.

She was a handsome woman of forty-five and would remain so for many years.

Existentialism is about being a saint without God; being your own hero, without all the sanction and support of religion or society.

The essence of romantic love is that wonderful beginning, after which sadness and impossibility may become the rule.

Romanticism is not just a mode; it literally eats into every life. Women will never get rid of just waiting for the right man.

You have no idea how promising the world begins to look once you have decided to have it all for yourself. And how much healthier your decisions are once they become entirely selfish.

Like many rich men, he thought in anecdotes; like many simple women, she thought in terms of biography.

Good women always think it is their fault when someone else is being offensive. Bad women never take the blame for anything.

A complete woman is probably not a very admirable creature. She is manipulative, uses other people to get her own way, and works within whatever system she is in.

It will be a pity if women in the more conventional mould are to be phased out, for there will never be anyone to go home to.

Great writers are the saints for the godless.

Time misspent in youth is sometimes all the freedom one ever has.

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