06 February 2016

The love one has for a child (. . . ) is a singular love, because it is a love whose foundation is not physical attraction, or pleasure, or intellect, but fear. You have never known fear until you have a child, and maybe that is what tricks us into thinking that it is more magnificent, because the fear itself is more magnificent. Every day, your first thought is not "I love her" but "How is she?" The world, overnight, rearranges itself into an obstacle course of terrors. I would hold her in my arms and wait to cross the street and would think how absurd it was that may child, that any child, could expect to survive this life. It seemed as improbable as the survival of one of those late-spring butterflies - you know those little white ones - I sometimes saw wobbling through the air, always just millimetres away from smacking itself against a windscreen.

Hanya Yanagihara - A Little Life

(Despite this quote - which rings true to some extent -  I gave up on the book about two thirds through. I did a quick speed read to the end to find out whether there were any big revelations in store but no, more splendid marble-based interior design details, bespoke suits and handmade shoes, trips to India and select exclusive European destinations, excellent menu suggestions and all that predictable suffering and trauma. However, no time frame, no history, no world events, just a handful of men ageing in style and incredible wealth and professional success so it seemed, with an absurd one-centred concept of friendship and compassion. In the end I just had to stop in order to get rid of the taste in my mouth, like artificially sweetened cotton wool. 
That and reading it in bed made my arms ache.)


37paddington said...

That quote is spectacular though. It feels utterly true for me.

Anonymous said...

It is a compelling quote. I like how you found it among the rest of book, which seemed much less interesting. Wonder how that bit of insight got into the book at all.

Elizabeth said...

Oh god, I HATED that book. I read the whole thing because it was "readable," but to this day I do not understand why it's gotten such acclaim.