The New York Trilogy (New York Trilogy #1-3)

But I know nothing of time. I am new every day. I am born when I wake up in the morning, I grow old during the day, and I die at night when I go to sleep. It is not my fault. And I am doing so well today. I am doing so much better than I have ever done before.

But lost chances are as much a part of life as chances taken, and a
story cannot dwell on what might have been.

Every life is inexplicable, I kept telling myself. No matter how many facts are told, no matter how many details are given, the essential thing resists telling. To say that so and so was born here and went there, that he did this and did that, that he married this woman and had these children, that he lived, that he died, that he left behind these books or this battle or that bridge – none of that tells us very much.

For several years Quinn had been having the same conversations with this man, whose name he did not know. Once, when he had been in the luncheonette, they had talked about baseball, and now, each time Quinn came in, they continued to talk about it. In the winter, the talk was of trades, predictions, memories. During the season, it was always the most recent game. They were both Mets fans, and the hopelessness of that passion had created a bond between them.

George Washington chopped down the tree, and then he threw away the money. Do you understand? He was telling us an essential truth. Namely, that money doesn't grow on trees. This is what made our country great, Peter. Now George Washington's picture is on every dollar bill. There is an important lesson to be learned from all this.

He has been marked by the past, and once that happens, nothing can be
done about it. Something happens, Blue thinks, and then it goes on
happening forever. It can never be changed, can never be otherwise.

Here I am of the air, a beautiful thing for the light to shine on. Perhaps you will remember that. I am...

He was there for you, and yet at the same time
he was inaccessible. You felt there was a secret core in him that could never be penetrated, a mysterious center of hiddenness. To imitate him was somehow to participate in that mystery, but it was also to understand that you could never really know him.

I make no excuse for what happened. Drunkenness is never more than a symptom, not an absolute cause, and I realize that it would be wrong of me to try to defend myself. Nevertheless, there is at least the possibility of an explanation.

In general, lives seem to veer abruptly from one thing to another, to jostle and bump, to squirm. A person heads in one direction, turns sharply in mid-course, stalls, drifts, starts up again. Nothing is ever known, and inevitably we come to a place quite different from the one we set out for.

In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere out of the world.

in the end, each life is irreducible to anything other than itself. Which is as much as to say: lives make no sense.

In the end, each life is no more than the
sum of contingent facts, a chronicle of chance intersections, of ?ukes, of random events that divulge nothing but their own
lack of purpose.

In the good mystery there is nothing wasted, no sentence, no word that is not significant. And even if it is not significant, it has the potential to be so - which amounts to the same thing. The world of the book comes to life, seething with possibilities, with secrets and contradictions. Since everything seen or said, even the slightest, most trivial thing, can bear a connection to the outcome of the story, nothing must be overlooked. Everything becomes essence; the center of the book shifts with each event that propels it forward. The center, then, is everywhere, and no circumference can be drawn until the book has come to its end.

I tend to think that everything counts. In the end, each life is no more than the sum of contingent facts, a chronicle of chance intersections, of ?ukes, of random events that divulge nothing but their own lack of purpose.

It's June second, he told himself. Try to remember that. This is New York, and tomorrow will be June third. If all goes well, the following day will be the fourth. But nothing is certain.

It was something like the word 'it' in the phrase 'it is raining' or 'it is night'. What that 'it' referred to Quinn had never known

On his best walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally, was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere. New York was the nowhere he had built around himself, and he realized that he has no intention of ever leaving it again.

Our lives carry us along in ways we cannot control, and almost nothing stays with us. It dies when we do, and death is something that happens to us every day.

Something happens, Blue thinks, and then it goes on happening forever. It can never be changed, can never be otherwise.

Stories without endings can do nothing but go on forever, and to be caught in one means that you must die before your part in it is played out.

Then, without any warning, we both straightened up, turned towards each other, and began to kiss. After that, it is difficult for me to speak of what happened. Such things have little to do with words, so little, in fact, that it seems almost pointless to try to express them. If anything, I would say that we were falling into each other, that we were falling so fast and so far that nothing could catch us.

The story is not in the words; it's in the struggle.

To care about words, to have a stake in what is written, to believe in the power of books - this overwhelms the rest, and beside it one's life becomes very small.

We all want to be told stories, and we listen to them in the same way we did when we were young. We imagine the real story inside the words, and to do this we substitute ourselves for the person in the story, pretending that we can understand him because we understand ourselves. This is a deception. We exist for ourselves, perhaps, and at times we even have a glimmer of who we are, but in the end we can never be sure, and as our lives go on, we become more and more opaque to ourselves, more and more aware of our own incoherence. No one can cross the boundary into another—for the simple reason that no one can gain access to himself.

We are not where we are, he ?nds, but in a false position. Through an in?rmity of our natures, we suppose a case, and put ourselves into it, and hence are in two cases at the same time, and it is doubly dif?cult to get out

We exist for ourselves, perhaps, and at times we even have a glimmer of who we are, but in the end we can never be sure, and as our lives go on, we become more and more opaque to ourselves, more and more aware of our own incoherence. No one can cross the boundary into another – for the simple reason that no one can gain access to himself.

Writing is a solitary business. It takes over your life. In some sense, a writer has no life of his own. Even when he’s there, he’s not really there.

you can’t punish someone for a lack of affection, can you? You can’t force a child to love you just because he’s your child.