It is wrong, then, to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences (like the meeting of Anna, Vronsky, the railway station, and death or the meeting of Beethoven, Tomas, Tereza, and the cognac), but it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty.
This was reality, an only reality for a man whose existence had been not quite bad, merely insufficient, tenable but hardly enriching. For a man who had lived a life of not quite enough, this was all there could ever be of goodness and brilliance and light.
I had left the university the year before with the rash hope that I could earn a living in journalism and literature without any need to learn them, inspired by a sentence I believe I had read in George Bernard Shaw: "From a very early age I've had to interrupt my education to go to school." I was not capable of discussing this with anyone because I felt, though I could not explain why, that my reasons might be valid only to me.
How strange it must have sounded, this quarreling about dematerialization, voluntary aging, goat gods, and immortality, to a city that was primed for the Age of Reason, a populace that was beginning to put Descartes before des horse.
"Ask your own conscience, Arthur, if it would be wrong to swear to deal fairly with all men and whatever Gods they worship, instead of swearing allegiance to one only.
Arthur said quietly, "Well then, I will swear, and take the sword."
"Kneel, then," Viviane said, "in token that a king is but a man, and a priestess, even a high priestess, no more than a woman, but that the Gods are over us all."
"Most people have a rope that ties them to someone, and that rope can be short or it can be long. (Be long. Belong. Get it?) You don't know how long, though. It's not your choice. Maureen's rope ties her to Matty and it's about six inches long and it's killing her. Martin's rope ties him to his daughters and, like a stupid dog, he thinks it isn't there. He goes running off somewhere -- into a night club after a girl, up a building, whatever -- and then suddenly it brings him up short and chokes him and he acts surprised, and then he does the same thing again the next day."
"There won't be much food, but I warn you it's quite a weight, I still have the strength to carry the bread I eat, What always weighs more is the bread of the others, I have no right to complain, the weight carried by the others will buy me my food."