"The Earth has a skin, and this skin has disease. One of these diseases is called, for example, 'humanity.'"
"'Maybe it's true that all the researchers in Turkey get a nervous breakdown,' I said. 'I wonder if I would have a nervous breakdown.'
"'In Turkey? You wouldn't have a nervous breakdown. You'd give them a nervous breakdown.' I forgave him a lot when he said that. I forgave him for almost everything."
—Elif Batuman, The Idiot, 2017
"That was part of being a girl—you were resigned to whatever feedback you'd get. If you got mad, you were crazy, and if you didn't react, you were a bitch. The only thing you could do was smile from the they'd back you into. Implicate yourself in the joke even if the joke was always on you."
—Emma Cline, The Girls, 2016
"That was our mistake, I think. One of many mistakes. To believe that boys were acting with a logic that we could someday understand. To believe that their actions had any meaning beyond thoughtless impulse. We were like conspiracy theorists, seeing portent and intention in every detail, wishing desperately that we mattered enough to be the object of planning and speculation. But they were just boys. Silly and young and straightforward; they weren't hiding anything."
"Emma keeps saying, 'I'm a seagull,' but the words come out strangely—garbled or ill-timed—as she lurches to and fro, nodding off and then trying not to nod, as the scene disintegrates and dance music is piped in and, leaving her costume behind, she goes off to a rave in a world far from Chekhov's, a club populated by party people, who don't want the night to end, if it is, in fact. night."
—Hilton Als, reviewing Duncan Macmillan's People, Places & Things, in The New Yorker. November 13, 2017
"To say of it, 'Here is a magnificent novel' is rather like gazing into the Grand Canyon and remarking, 'Well, well, well; quite a slice."
--Dorothy Parker, writing about André Gide's "The Counterfeiters"
"We have acutely sensitive hands, but we handle the world with thick gloves and then, bored, blame it for lacking shape."
waarachtig -- Dutch, something that's not true but feels so true that you believe it
"Feminist theory came from feminist activism--it wasn't the other way around. I accept that important theorists like Judith Butler may arrive at enlightening conclusions, but theory can be exclusionary, and that's not my path. My path is to open the door to this house, to get out of the world I know, and to experience new worlds, new voices. It's making connections, and using myself to listen, because you can't empower women without listening to their stories."
--Gloria Steinem, as quoted by Jane Kramer in "The Road Warrior," The New Yorker, October 19, 2015
"...antagonism is never worse than when it involves two men each of whom believes that he speaks for goodness and rectitude."
--Vincent Buranelli, 1957 (writing about Henry David Thoreau)
"From Woodstock to the CBGB's era was only six or seven years....And then if you think about it, from Bill Haley to Woodstock is only ten, eleven years. And I've been flogging the same bullshit for thirty years now. And I feel like...I still feel contemporary, you know? Which is absurd. It should be impossible."
--Steve Albini, on WTF with Marc Maron