[personal profile] fiefoe
What builds or tears down our allegiance to a given novel? I have mixed feelings about Amor Towles's debut novel. The one-liners, the repartees, and cameos of a bygone New York are certainly winsome:
  • an old fashioned Irish house (GOOD ALE, RAW ONIONS, NO LADIES)
  • This city where all things beautiful are welcomed and measured if, if not immediately adopted, then at least tried on for size.
  • If New York was a many-cogged machine, then lack of judgement was the grease that kept the gears turning for the rest of us.
  • world-weariness, as if a string of successes have towed along an ugly truth or two.
  • Bred with just the right amount of fresh air, roughhousing, and ignorance, these primitive blondes set out from the cornfields looking like starlight with limbs.
  • “I think we all have some parcel of the past which is falling into disrepair or being sold off piece by piece. It’s just that for most of us, it isn’t an orchard; it’s the way we’ve thought about something or someone."
  • (Ukrainian vaudeville bar), where they could keep a watchful eye on one another. In such proximity, time slowly strengthened their sentiments, while diluting their resolve.
  • The one thing for certain at Belmont was that on Wednesday at 5:00 A.M., there was no place for the common man. This was like the circles of Dante's Inferno - populated with men of varied sins, but also with the shrewdness and devotion of the damned... Hands grip cups where the absence of steam said the cup was filled with liquor.
  • St. Patrick’s on Fifth Avenue and Fiftieth Street is a pretty powerful example of early nineteenth-century American Gothic... The stained-glass windows were made by craftsmen from Chartres. Tiffany designed two of the altars and a Medici designed the third. And the Pieta in the southeast corner is twice the size of Michelangelo’s. In fact, the whole place is so well made that as the Good Lord sees about His daily business, He can pass right over St. Patrick’s confident that those inside will take pretty good care of themselves.
  • As a quick aside, let me observe that in moments of high emotion....if the next thing you're going to say makes you feel better, then it's probably the wrong thing to say. This is one of the finer maxims that I've discovered in life. And you can have it, since it's been of no use to me.
  • But there are tens of thousands of butterflies: men and women like Eve with two dramatically different colorings—one which serves to attract and the other which serves to camouflage—and which can be switched at the instant with a flit of the wings.
  • Because when some incident sheds a favorable light on an old and absent friend, that's about as good a gift as chance intends to offer.
  • If we only fell in love with people who were perfect for us, then there wouldn't be so much to fuss about love in the first place.
  • - You're rather well read for a working-class girl.
    - Really? I've found that all my well-read friends are from the working classes.
    - Oh my. Why do you think that is? The purity of the poverty?
    - No. It's just that reading is the cheapest form of entertainment.
    - Sex is the cheapest form of entertainment.
    - Not in this house.
  • I suppose we don't rely on comparison enough to tell us whom it is that we are talking to. We give people the liberty of fashioning themselves in the moment - a span of time that is so much more manageable, stageable, controllable than is a lifetime.
  • He always looked his best, I thought to myself, when circumstances called for him to be a boy and a man at the same time.
  • Slurring is the cursive of speech...
  • That's the problem with living in New York. You've got no New York to run away to.
  • Really. Is there anything nice to be said about other people's vacations?
  • Old times, as my father used to say: If you're not careful, they'll gut you like a fish.
  • New Eglanders respect all aspects of money but its use.
  • Hiker and a talker. This is a reason of self-discovery.
  • elbow to elbow, ethos to ethos / a rifle you can wear to your wedding.

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