Friday, April 20, 2012

Quotes for Friday from Zadie Smith's White Teeth

I employ you to know things. To compute information. To bring into the light the great darkness of the creator's unexplainable universe.

Archie Jones attempted suicide because his wife, Ophelia, a violet-eyed Italian with a faint mustache, had recently divorced him. But he had not spent New Year's morning gagging on the tube of a vacuum cleaner because he loved her. It was rather because he had lived with her for so long and had not loved her. 

Archie's second marriage felt like buying a pair of shoes, taking them home, and finding they don't fit. For the sake of appearances, he put up with them. And then, all of a sudden and after thirty years, the shoes picked themselves up and walked out of the house. She left. Thirty years.

You must live life with the full knowledge that your actions will remain. We are creatures of consequence, Archibald...

Desire didn't even bother casing the joint, checking whether the neighbours were in - desire just kicked down the door and made himself at home.

[W]hen the male organ of a man stands erect, two thirds of his intellect go away ... And one third of his religion.

What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna, or the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll - then we call them crazy. Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greetings cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.

They were massively attracted by the fact that he had renounced women and the more he renounced them, the more successful he became. Of course this equation could only work so long, and now Shiva was getting more pussy than he ever had as a kaffir.

In Archie's experience anything with a long memory holds a grievance and a pet with a grievance (that time you got the wrong food, that time you bathed me) just isn't what you want.

But surely to tell these tales and others like them would be to speed the myth, the wicked lie, that the past is always tense and the future, perfect. And as Archie knows, it's not like that. It's never been like that.

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