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Favorite passages from books


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I don't believe you don't have any.

That said, I have way too many. I'll just start off with some from The Kindly Ones. Reading those passages again, I can't wait to reread the book.

For a long time we crawl on this earth like caterpillars, waiting for the splendid, diaphanous butterfly we bear within ourselves. And then time passes and the nymph stage never comes, we remain larvae - what do we do with such an appalling realization? Suicide, of course, is always an option. But to tell the truth suicide doesn't tempt me much. Of course I have thought about it over the years; and if I were to resort to it, here's how I'd go about it: I'd hold a grenade right up against my heart and go out in a bright burst of joy. A little round grenade whose pin I'd delicately pluck out before I released the catch, smiling at the little metallic noise of the spring, the last sound I'd hear, aside from the heartbeat in my ears. And then at last, happiness, or in any case peace, as the shreds of my flesh slowly dripped off the walls.


My colleagues consider me a calm, collected, thoughtful man. Calm, certainly; but often during the day my head begins to rage, with the dull roar of a crematorium. I talk, I hold conversations, I make decisions, just like everyone else; but standing at a bar with my glass of Cognac, I imagine a man coming in with a shotgun and opening fire; at the movies or the theatre, I picture a live grenade rolling under the seats; in a town square on a public holiday I see a car parked with explosives blowing up, the afternoon festivities turned into carnage, blood filling the cracks between the cobblestones, gobbets of flesh splattered on the walls or smashing through the windows to land in the Sunday soup, I hear cries, the groans of people with their limbs torn off like the legs of an insect plucked by a curious little boy, the bewilderment of the survivors, a strange, earsplitting silence, the beginning of a long fear. Calm? Yes, I remain calm, whatever happens, I don't let anything show, I stay quiet, impassive, like the empty windows of burned out cities, like the little old men on park benches with their canes and their medals, like the faces of the drowned just beneath the surface of the water, never to be found. I couldn't break this terrifying calm even if I wanted to. I'm not the sort of man who loses his nerve at the drop of a hat, I know how to behave. But it weighs on me too.


I am guilty, you're not, fine. But you should be able to admit to yourselves that you might also have done what I did. With less zeal, perhaps, but perhaps also with less despair, in any case one way or another. I think I am allowed to conclude, as a fact established by modern history, that everyone, or nearly everyone, in a given set of circumstances, does what he is told to do; and, pardon me, but there's not much chance that you're the exception, any more than I was. If you were born in a country or at a time not only when nobody comes to kill your wife and your children, but also nobody comes to ask you to kill the wives and children of others, then render thanks to God and go in peace. But always keep this thought in mind: You might be luckier than I, but you're not a better person. Beacuse if you have the arrogance to think you are, that's just where the danger begins.

What a great fucking book.

Really curious about yours as well. :)