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The Secret History Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from The Secret History
  1. #1
    “It’s funny, but thinking back on it now, I realize that this particular point in time, as I stood there blinking in the deserted hall, was the one point at which I might have chosen to do something very much different from what I actually did.”
  2. #2
    “Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.”
  3. #3
    “I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.”
  4. #4
    “Henry’s a perfectionist, I mean, really-really kind of inhuman — very brilliant, very erratic and enigmatic. He’s a stiff, cold person, Machiavellian, ascetic and he’s made himself what he is by sheer strength of will.”
  5. #5
    “His aspiration is to be this Platonic creature of pure rationality and that’s why he’s attracted to the Classics, and particularly to the Greeks — all those high, cold ideas of beauty and perfection. I think it’s what in the end that gets him into trouble.”
  6. #6
    “And standing outside the Lyceum, I was struck with a black, incredulous horror, which in fact was not at all unlike the horror I had felt at twelve, sitting on a bar stool in our sunny little kitchen in Plano. Who is in control here? I thought, dismayed. Who is flying this plane?”
  1. #7
    “The idea of living there, of not having to go back ever again to asphalt and shopping malls and modular furniture; of living there with Charles and Camilla and Henry and Francis and maybe even Bunny; of no one marrying or going home or getting a job in a town a thousand miles away or doing any of the traitorous things friends do after college; of everything remaining exactly as it was, that instant – the idea was so truly heavenly that I’m not sure I thought, even then, it could ever really happen, but I like to believe I did.”
  2. #8
    “To be absolutely free! One is quite capable, of course, of working out these destructive passions in more vulgar and less efficient ways. But how glorious to release them in a single burst! To sing, to scream, to dance barefoot in the woods in the dead of night, with no more awareness of mortality than an animal!”
  3. #9
    “These are powerful mysteries. The bellowing of bulls. Springs of honey bubbling from the ground. If we are strong enough in our souls we can rip away the veil and look that naked, terrible beauty right in the face; let God consume us, devour us, unstring our bones. Then spit us out reborn.”
  4. #10
    We think we have many desires, but in fact we have only one. What is it?”
    “To live,” said Camilla.
    “To live forever,” said Bunny, chin cupped in palm.”
  5. #11
    “But of course I didn’t see this crucial moment for what it actually was; I suppose we never do. Instead, I only yawned, and shook myself from the momentary daze that had come upon me, and went on my way down the stairs.”
  6. #12
    “Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.”

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  1. #13
    “I realized that the childish impression I had always had of my father, as Just Lawgiver, was entirely wrong. We were utterly dependent on this man, who was not only deluded and ignorant, but incompetent in every way. What was more, I knew that my mother was incapable of standing up to him. It was like walking into the cockpit of an airplane and finding the pilot and co-pilot passed out drunk in their seats.”
  2. #14
    “It is is better to know one book intimately than a hundred superficially.”
  3. #15
    “Does such a thing as ‘the fatal flaw,’ that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.”
  4. #16
    “Forgive me, for all the things I did but mostly for the ones that I did not.”
  5. #17
    “Are you happy here?” I said at last.
    He considered this for a moment. “Not particularly,” he said. “But you’re not very happy where you are, either.”
  6. #18
    “It was if the charming theatrical curtain had dropped away and I saw him for the first time as he really was: not the benign old sage, the indulgent and protective good-parent of my dreams, but ambiguous, a moral neutral, whose beguiling trappings concealed a being watchful, capricious, and heartless.”
  7. #19
    “There is nothing wrong with the love of Beauty. But Beauty – unless she is wed to something more meaningful – is always superficial.”
  8. #20
    “Love doesn’t conquer everything. And whoever thinks it does is a fool.”
Book Topics › being different
Children's Books About Being Different