Friday, January 13, 2012

Quotes for Friday from Nadine Gordimer's The Conservationist

The fact is that ll this softness is the result of smoke; particles of smoke that hang in the still winter air; smoke from that location that lies between the farm and city. It's a cataract over the fierce eye of the sun; it's even possible, some days, to look straight at the sun as if you are staring at the prism deep in the under-water radiance of a star sapphire. [78]

To keep anything the way you like it for yourself you have to have the stomach to ignore - dead and hidden - whatever intrudes. Those for whom life is cheapest recognise that. [79]

- Oh, compassion's like masturbation. Doesn't do anyone else any harm, and if it makes you feel better ... [98]

- I really don't know why I do. But don't you find the people it's most difficult to make confidences to are the ones who are closest to you? In fact confession is best made to complete strangers. Somebody who gets talking to you on a journey. It's easier with someone you don't know at all. - [106]

What begun as their own passion to be let out had long since become a fierce passion to keep out others. [114]

In the cosy dark of other presences, in the intimacy like the loneliness of the crowd, the feel of flesh is experienced anew, as the taste of water is recognised anew in the desert. [128]

Come to think of it all the earth is a graveyard, you never know when you're walking over heads - particularly this continent, cradle of man, prehistoric bones and the bits of shaped stone (sometimes a plough has actually turned one up) that were weapons and utensils. [148]

You can't get through. You are right, reading the cards on the table; charity's a waste of time, towards man or beast, it only patches up a little bit of pain here and there. [199]

There are kinds of companionship unsought. With nature. Nature accepts everything. Bones, hair, teeth, fingernails and beaks of birds - the ants carry away the last fragment of flesh, small as fibre of meat stuck in a back tooth, nothing is wasted. [200]
Read a review of the book here.


  1. Great quotes. I'm looking forward to reading this soon!

  2. Love the quote about it being easier to make confessions to strangers - it seems that places like twitter and facebook really draw that out in people... it fascinates me.

    1. Yeah! And also on buses, when one is travelling. Perhaps the idea that those we share with have no way of holding it against us or using it against us. Or that they do not know as, being strangers, to compare it with our background, upbringing, beliefs etc.


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