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The Party book cover
The Party › Quotes

The Party Quotes

Most of the time, everyone deserves more than one chance. We all do things we regret now and then. You just have to carry them with you.
One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules... was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time they were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure what side of the line you stood on.
I think you can’t imagine. Why anyone would choose a different life from the one you’ve got. Why anyone might want something other than a big house with a big lawn, a fancy car, a job in an office. Why anyone would choose anything different than what you’d choose.
All her life, she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks leapt like fleas and spread as rapidly; a breeze could carry embers for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic torch. Or, perhaps, to tend it carefully like an eternal flame: a reminder of light and goodness that would never - could never - set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled. Domesticated. Happy in captivity. The key, she thought, was to avoid conflagration.
It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?.
But it doesn’t mean you made the wrong choice. It’s just something that you have to carry.
I don't have a plan, I'm afraid, but then, no one really does, no matter what they say.
...the thing about portraits is, you need to show people the way they want to be seen. And I prefer to show people as I see them.
It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.
Rules existed for a reason: if you followed them, you would succeed; if you didn't, you might burn the world to the ground.
She smelled of home...as if home had never been a place, but had always been this little person whom she'd carried alongside her.
Everyone sees race, Lex," said Moody. "The only difference is who pretends not to.
She had learned that when people were bent on doing something they believed was a good deed, it was usually impossible to dissuade them.
All up and down the street the houses looked like any others—but inside them were people who might be happy, or taking refuge, or steeling themselves to go out into the world, searching for something better. So many lives she would never know about, unfolding behind those doors.
He felt as if he’d dived into a deep, clear lake and discovered it was a shallow, knee-deep pond. What did you do? Well, you stood up. You rinsed your mud-caked knees and pulled your feet out of the muck. And you were more cautious after that. You knew, from then on, that the world was a smaller place than you’d expected.
His life had been divided into a before and an after, and he would always be comparing the two.
Like after a prairie fire...It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning, the soil is richer, and new things can grow....People are like that, too, you know. They start over. They find a way.
Multiple points of origin. Possible use of accelerant. Not an accident.
But the problem with rules, he reflected, was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time there were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure which side of the line you stood on.
In Pauline and Mal’s house, nothing was simple. In her parents’ house, things had been good or bad, right or wrong, useful or wasteful. There had been nothing in between. Here, she found, everything had nuance; everything had an unrevealed side or unexplored depths. Everything was worth looking at more closely.
Everything, she noticed, seemed capable of transmogrification. Even the two boulders in the backyard sometimes turned to silver in the early morning sunlight. In the books she read, every stream might be a river god, every tree a dryad in disguise, every old woman a powerful fairy, every pebble an enchanted soul. Anything had the potential to transform, and this, to her, seemed the true meaning of art. Only her brother, Warren, seemed to understand the hidden layer she saw in things, but then they had always had an understanding, since before he had been born.
Maybe at birth everyone should be given to a family of a different race to be raised. Maybe that would solve racism once and for all.
The occasional embrace, a head leaned for just a moment on your shoulder, when what you really wanted more than anything was to press them to you and hold them so tight you fused together and could never be taken apart. It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.
The photos stirred feelings she couldn't quite frame in words, and this, she decided, must mean they were true works of art.
Nearly two decades later, others would raise this question, would talk about books as mirrors and windows, and Ed Lim, tired by then, would find himself as frustrated as he was grateful. We’ve always known, he would think; what took you so long?.
No one, she had learned from experience, could stand such silence for long. If you waited long enough, someone would start talking, and more often than not they would give you a chance to press further, to crack the conversation open and scoop out what you needed to know.
Everything, she had come to understand, was something like infinity.
Sex changed things, she realized - not just between you and the other person, but between you and everyone.
To a parent, your child wasn't just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once.
Asian men could be socially inept and incompetent and ridiculous, like a Long Duk Dong, or at best unthreatening and slightly buffoonish, like a Jackie Chan. They were not allowed to be angry and articulate and powerful. And possibly right, Mr. Richardson thought uneasily.
It has to be planned.
Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less.