Philip Roth

{EN} Letting Go – Philip Roth

1. „The worst part of certain secrets is their secrecy.”

2. „(…) stubborness might be the other side of courage.”

3. „It is a peculiar age indeed, when even the corrupt and the unfeeling are out collecting so as to beat down hardening of the arteries. It’s the age to feel sorry – a bleeding heart is standard equipment.
And the fact is that there are few of us who can resist an appeal. After all, you could free the slaves and hang the tyrants by their heels, but as for the rest,  the other horrors, what do you do after you`ve bought your Christmas seals? We feel a debt, I know, hearing of the other fellow’s sorrows, but the question I want to raise here is, what good is the bleeding heart? What`s to be done with all this pitying? (…) I pity you, you may pity me. I don`t know if it makes any of us behave better, or wiser. Terrible struggles go on in the heart, to which the heart itself will not admit, when pity is mistaken for love.”

4. „I mean it about men’s consciences. I don`t understand them. They can`t let go, you know? If they know they`re so guilty, then why do they keep acting like bastards? I`m sounding unladylike again, but a woman at least realizes there are certain rotten things she`s got to do in life and she does them. Men want to be heroes. They want to be noble and responsible, but they`re so soft about it.”

5. „Suddenly there was traffic, most of it to the two bathrooms. Women repaired their eyes in all the mirrors of the house. Men blew their noses into expensive handkerchiefs. One`s son, one`s grandchild, one`s own flesh and blood, miles and miles away… For a short while well-fleshed backs were all one could see in the room. But through some miracle – the miracle of alcohol, companionship, of everybody feeling his obligation to be the Pilgrim fathers – the party did not dissolve into old people collapsing on the floor and beating their hearts with their fists. For a suspenseful few minutes it hung just above that – Mrs. Norton almost turned purple with sadness right in the center of the emptying room – but then feet began to ache, stomachs became gassy, and a little heartburn had to be taken care of. Groans and sighs too precedence over the deeper pains, and full bellies rose and fell in exhaustion. The women sat with heads back and arms folded; the men slept. A general mellowing took place, and the knowledge spread – silent, but electric – that there were thousands and thousands in the world in exactly the same fix as those aged gathered here. With the food moving through the system, the blood thickening, there came the hour of philosophy; outside, the window the day turned purple and gold. This was the way of life – separation and loss. To be eating, drinking, to be warm, to be left, that was something. At least those who remained, remained.”
„There is something life-giving and religious in outfitting yourself.”

6. „He was hoisting a candied sweet potato in his mouth, not with his fork, but wrapped in the center of his fist. Martha waited for the inevitable to happen: sure as hell he would stick it in his eye. But through luck, or instinct, he managed to locate his lips; he had, however, borne down too heavily on the frail potato, and just as it was to slide safely within, most of it made an appearance along the edges of his fingers. Totally absorbed (…), floundering in the labyrinths if jurisprudence, Markie cleaned his hand on the front of his white shirt.
Sid stoped short with his lecture; Markie looked up. „Who?”
„Don`t you have a napkin?” Martha asked.
He showed her that he did. Sid said, „Markie, when you want to wipe your hands off, use your napkin.”
„It`s no use. I think he`s part Eskimo,” Martha said. „I think he`s going to grow up and just head north and find a nice Eskimo girl and the two of them are going to sit around the rest of their lives asking each other Who? and ripping blubber apart with their hands.””

7. „The moral: Don`t be fooled by the weather. Beneath the lovely exteriors, life beats on.”

8. „At long last morning came. Light. In the day the self does not fly the banners it gets away with at night.”

9. „At daybreak it was always snowing, and very late in the night too. Inside, snow blows against her bedroom window; outside, snow falls on my bleary lids; as I make a stab at navigating my car through a black antarctica to Fifty-fifth Street, snow nearly sends me up trees and down sewers. At home it pings off my own window – time ticking, here comes dawn again – as in my underwear and socks I dive into the disheveled bed, gather about me my rumpled sheets, and go sailing off after sleep. How my body remembers that winter. It was always tired, poor soul, and outside – beyond what body can and cannot change, where body promises nothing, annihilates no one – it was always snowing.”

10. „Where? Anywhere. Start again. Last chance. Once there is a baby it`s all over. To go back and become not just a husband but a father too – well, that would be that. If it had taken five and a half years to walk out on his Libby, it would take forever with some little Nahum sleeping in the other room.”

11. „”She’s been living here since it happened.”
Ah, it. Not the heart attack. Never the plane crash or the cancer or the bankruptcy. The it. The tsura one couldn`t even mention.”

12. „”Love,” he said over his shoulder, „is unnatural. Most of the guilt in the world is from cockeyed thinking.””

13. „Circumstances had not only been unusual, they had been fast. You went to sleep one night, woke up the next morning, and, lo and behold, you had a past. There had been circumstances, and there had been the business of maturation, the successive shock of coming face to face with one`s own fallibilities. But whether it was strength he lacked, or imagination, or patience or wisdom or heart, at twenty-seven it almost looked as though the force and unexpectedness of circumstance had done him in.”

O contributie Roxa

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