“What is the nature of life?
Life is lines of dominoes falling.
One thing leads to another, and then another, just like you'd planned. But suddenly a Domino gets skewed, events change direction, people dig in their heels, and you're faced with a situation that you didn't see coming, you who thought you were so clever.”
“When Lars first held [his daughter], his heart melted over her like butter on warm bread, and he would never get it back. When mother and baby were asleep in the hospital room, he went out to the parking lot, sat in his Dodge Omni, and cried like a man who had never wanted anything in his life until now.”
“Everyone looked better at a distance. Everyone sounded sweetest when you did not have to hear them talk too long.”
“Olive's private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as "big bursts" and "little bursts." Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee's, let's say, or the waitress at Dunkin' Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.”
“Do you find yourself sort of secretly hoping that civilization collapses, Melissa said, just so that something will happen?”
“He wonders if a few moments of utter and total joy can be worth a lifetime of struggle.
Maybe, he thinks. Maybe, if they're the right moments.”
"But when I spoke to Arthur in Spanish and Miss Scalapino heard me, she said “NO!” with body and soul. Her head turned left and right a hundred times a second and her index finger moved from side to side as fast as a windshield wiper on a rainy day. “English, English,” she repeated. Arthur avoided me whenever she was around."
“Way out in the country tonight he could smell the pumpkins ripening toward the knife and the triangle eye and the singeing candle.”
“It's a popular myth that the most deadly animal in history is the human, because murder and war and genocide can be laid at the feet of our species. However, the deadliest animal is of course the mosquito. Fortunately, both species can now be significantly improved.”