The people in this house, I felt, and I included myself, were like characters each from a different grim and gruesome fairy tale. None of us was in the same story. We were all grotesques, and self-riveted, but in separate narratives, and so our interactions seemed weird and richly meaningless, like the characters in a Tennessee Williams play, with their bursting unimportant, but spell-bindingly mad speeches."

Lorrie Moore, Anagrams

Boys often have permission to become men without the forfeiture of their desirability. And so these men write stories that grasp at girls who are ghosts twice over: first by being dead and second by being shallow shadows of actual girls, the assorted fragments of men's aging imaginations rather than the deep and dimensioned creatures that real girls are.”

Alana Massey, All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers

Our theory of disaster, of sorrow, of affliction, borrowed from the poets and novelist, is that it is incessant; but every passage in our own lives and in the lives of others, so far as we have witnessed them, teaches us that this is false. The house of mourning is decorously darkened to the world, but within itself it is also the house of laughing. Burst of gaiety, as heartfelt as its grief, relieve the gloom, and the stricken survivors have their jest together, in which the thought of the dead is tenderly involved, and a fond sense, not crazier than many others, of sympathy and enjoyment beyond the silence, justifies the sunnier mood before sorrow rushes back, deploring and despairing, and make it all up again with the conventional fitness of things.”

William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham

We had the great good fortune and shortcomings of character that marked every generation that had never seen war.”

Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End

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