--Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
The prince of darkness is a gentleman.
--William Shakespeare, King Lear
The problem these fifty-nine years has been this: how can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God? There is no one, no entity or higher form that she can appeal to, or be reconciled with, or that can forgive her. There is nothing outside her. In her imagination she has set the limits and the terms. No atonement for God, or novelists, even if they are atheists. It was always an impossible task, and that was precisely the point. The attempt was all.
--Ian McEwan, Atonement
You know it was funny because he seemed so well the night before
I stayed over to meet a student before class
—sitting at the picnic table...already so hot so early.
I must have been looking for a pen or something
when I thought of the car keys and, rummaging through my bag,
couldn’t find them and was up and walking across the grass when
I heard myself say, I feel as if I’m going to lose something today,
—and then I knew, and ran the rest of the way.