A couple of days ago I finished another book, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. It was a bit heavy-going in the beginning because of a very detailed narrative, but after a hundred or so pages it got better.
Here are some amusing bits that I particularly liked:
‘Spiritualism is the craze of the middle classes, the women especially; they gather in darkened rooms and play at table-tilting the way their grandmothers played at whist, or they emit voluminous automatic writings, dictated to them by Mozart or Shakespeare; in which case being dead, thinks Simon, has a remarkably debilitating effect on one’s prose style‘.
‘As one season’s crop of girls proceeds into engagement and marriage, younger ones keep sprouting up, like tulips in May. They are now so young it relation to Simon that he has trouble conversing with them; it’s like talking to a basketful of kittens’.
‘There was one good effect of all the suffering. The passengers were Catholic and Protestant mixed, with some English and Scots come over from Liverpool thrown into the bargain; and if in a state of health, they would have squabbled and fought, as there is no love lost. But there is nothing like a strong bout of seasickness to remove the desire for a scrap; and those who would cheerfully have cut each other’s throats on land, were often to be seen holding each other’s heads over the scuppers, like the tenderest of mothers; and I have sometimes noted the same thing in prison, as necessity does make strange bedfellows. A sea voyage and a prison may be God’s reminder to us that we are all flesh, and that all flesh is grass, and all flesh is weak. Or so I choose to believe‘.
‘Mary said I might be very young, and as ignorant as an egg, but I was bright as a new penny, and the difference between stupid and ignorant was that ignorant could learn’.
‘…Having a thought is not the same as doing it. If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged‘.
‘Having a mistress – for that’s what she’s become, he supposes, and it hasn’t taken long! – is worse than having a wife. The responsibilities involved are weightier, and more muddled’.