“Parenthood, it seems, makes you nervous for the rest of your life.”
“He is actually one of the few men who doesn’t obsess about younger women, which she refuses to believe.
We always worry about the wrong things, don’t we?”
“Peter, however, didn’t want to live in basements. He wanted to be a wheeler and a dealer (as some would call him), a denizen of the present, though he can’t quite live in the present; he can’t stop himself from mourning some lost world, he couldn’t say which world exactly, but someplace that isn’t this, isn’t street side piles of black garbage bags and shrill little boutiques that come and go. It’s corny, it’s sentimental, he doesn’t talk to people about it, but it feels at certain times – now, for instance – like his most essential aspect: his conviction, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that some terrible, blinding beauty is about to descend and, like the wrath of God, suck it all away, orphan us, deliver us, leave us wondering how exactly we’re going to start it all over again.”
“Their father, handsome but a little blank, unfinished-looking, vaguely Finnish, never fully adapted to his good fortune in marrying their mother, and lived in his marriage the way an impoverished relation might live in the spare room.”
“Even now, after all those ad campaigns, after all we’ve learned about how bad it really and truly gets, there is the glamour of self-destruction, imperishable, gem-hard, like some cursed ancient talisman that cannot be destroyed by any known means. Still, still, the ones who go down can seem as if they’re more complicatedly, more dangerously attuned to the sadness and, yes, the impossible grandeur. They’re romantic, goddamn them; we just can’t get it up in quite the same way for the sober and sensible, the dogged achievers, for all the good they do. We don’t adore them with the exquisite disdain we can bring to the addicts and miscreants.”
(Michael Cunningham – By Nightfall, 2010)