It is one of the paradoxes of American literature that our writers are forever looking back with love and nostalgia at lives they couldn't wait to leave.
Ruefulness is one of the classical tones of American fiction. It fosters a native, deglamorized form of anxiety.
Aphorisms are bad for novels. They stick in the reader's teeth.
If a book is really good, it deserves to be read again, and if it's great, it should be read at least three times.
Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.
The first divorce in the world may have been a tragedy, but the hundred-millionth is not necessarily one.
The tension between yes and no, between I can and I cannot, makes us feel that, in so many instances, human life is an interminable debate with one's self.
The epic implications of being human end in more than this: We start our lives as if they were momentous stories, with a beginning, a middle and an appropriate end, only to find that they are mostly middles.
The more I like a book, the more slowly I read. this spontaneous talking back to a book is one of the things that makes reading so valuable.
The more I like a book, the more reluctant I am to turn the page. Lovers, even book lovers, tend to cling. No one-night stands or reads for them.
A whole generation of writers dined out on the dialectic between original cultures and their culture by progress. They became traveling salesmen of metaphors.
To be misunderstood can be the writer's punishment for having disturbed the reader's peace. The greater the disturbance, the greater the possibility of misunderstanding.
His father, Vincent, took him to La Coupole in Paris and, after sitting on the terrace for a while, walked off and forgot him. It was the perfect start in life for a writer.
She was a spendthrift of the spirit, an American in Paris when, as Evelyn Waugh said, the going was good.
There was a time when we expected nothing of our children but obedience, as opposed to the present, when we expect everything of them but obedience.
People have no idea what a hard job it is for two writers to be friends. Sooner or later you have to talk about each other's work.
There is something about seeing real people on a stage that makes a bad play more intimately, more personally offensive than any other art form.
We are all tourists in history, and irony is what we win in wars.
An aphorism is a generalization of sorts, and our present-day writers seem more at home with the particular.
The contents of someone's bookcase are part of his history, like an ancestral portrait.
Lapped in poetry, wrapped in the picturesque, armed with logical sentences and inalienable words.