Friday, April 29, 2011

Quotes for Friday from Jose Eduardo Agualusa's The Book of Chameleons

Today's quotes come from a book I reviewed yesterday The Book of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agualusa. This is a wonderful novel and definitely novel in its approach. I have been told that his Rainy Season is a great novel. I would search for that.

He was an unpleasant sort of character, professionally indignant, who'd built up his whole career abroad, selling our national horrors to European readers. Misery does ever so well in wealthy countries. (Page 68)

"In your novels do you lie deliberately  or just out of ignorance?"... "I'm a liar by vocation," he shouted. "I lie with joy! Literature is the only chance for a true liar to attain any sort of social acceptance." (Page 68)

[T]he principal difference between a dictatorship and a democracy is that in the former there exists only one truth, the truth as imposed by power, while in free countries every man has the right to defend his own version of events. (Page 68)

Truth is superstition. (Page 68)

If he'd been able to he would have rolled out a rose-petal carpet at her feet. He would have liked to conduct an orchestra of birds to sing as rainbows appeared in the sky, one by one. (Page 69)

Women are moved by declarations of love, however ridiculous they be. (Page 69)

"My problem isn't the sun!" he retorted. "it's the lack of melanin." He laughed: "Have you noticed that anything inanimate gets bleached whiter in the sun, but living things get more color?" (Page 80)

Reality is painful and imperfect ... That's just the way it is, that's how we distinguish it from dreams. When something seems absolutely lovely we think it can only be a dream, and we pinch ourselves just to be sure we're really not dreaming - if it hurts it's because we're not dreaming. Reality can hurt us, even those moments when it may seem to us to be a dream. You can find everything that exists in the world in books - sometimes truer in colors, and without the real pain of everything that really does exist. Given a choice between life and books, my son, you must choose books. (Page 94)

Happiness is almost always irresponsible. We're happy for those brief moments when we close our eyes. (Page 94)

He was evil, and he didn't know it. He didn't know what evil was. That is to say, he was pure evil. (Page 105)

Lies are everywhere. Even nature herself lies. What is camouflage, for instance, but a lie? The chameleon disguises itself as a leaf in order to deceive a poor butterfly. He lies to it saying, Don't worry, my dear, can't you see I'm just a very green leaf waving in the breeze, and then he jets out his tongue at six hundred and twenty-five centimeters a second, and eats it. (Page 122)

Truth is a habit of being ambiguous. If it were exact it wouldn't be human. (Page 122)

Sometimes they don't write what I mean, they just write what I say. (Page 122)


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