--James Joyce, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man
He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
How beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken.
--Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.
--William Faulkner, The Wild Palms
It was a matter of perspective, I began to see. The whole world was crazy; I'd flattered myself by assuming I was a semifinalist.
--Wally Lamb, She's Come Undone
We stand there, quiet. My questions all seem wrong: How did you get so old? Was it all at once, in a day, or did you peter out bit by bit? When did you stop having parties? Did everyone else get old too, or was it just you? Are other people still here, hiding in the palm trees or holding their breath underwater? When did you last swim your laps? Do your bones hurt? Did you know this was coming and hide that you knew, or did it ambush you from behind?
--Jennifer Egan, A Visit From The Goon Squad