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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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Showing results by Renata Adler only

You can rely too much, my love, on the unspoken things. And the wry smile. I have that smile myself, and I’ve learned the silence, too, over the years. Along with your expressions, like No notion and Of necessity. What happens, though, when it is all unsaid, is that you wake up one morning, no, it’s more like late one afternoon, and it’s not just unsaid, it’s gone. That’s all. Just gone. I remember this word, that look, that small inflection, after all this time. I used to hold them, trust them, read them like a rune. Like a sign that there was a house, a billet, a civilization where we were. I look back and I think I was just there all alone. Collecting wisps and signs. Like a spinster who did know a young man once and who imagines ever since that she lost a fiancé in the war. Or an old fellow who, having spent months long ago in uniform at some dreary outpost nowhere near any country where there was a front, remembers buddies he never had, dying beside him in battles he was never in.

—p.9 I. ORCAS ISLAND (5) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

Look, the sun is a sort of bribe, you know, and so is a heavy thunderstorm or a snowfall. So is a dawn, though not I think a sunset. So is a warm bath or a shower, and a sound sleep. Bribes all, in the conspiracy of everything to continue to exist.

—p.22 I. ORCAS ISLAND (5) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

Is he not going to call, then? I don’t know. I guess he’s not. I seem to be having a harder time with this than I thought or it was worth.

In France, they have the story of a ballet dancer so moved by her role that, in a scene in which she was supposed to be dying, and touchingly reunited with her mother, she actually blurted Maman, and her career was ruined. It seems you have to keep, you just have to keep a distance.

I wonder whether he will ever ask himself, say to himself, Well, she wasn’t asking all the earth, why did I let her go?

—p.28 I. ORCAS ISLAND (5) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

The world is everything that is the case. And in the second place because. And in the second place because is how the Nabokov story starts, and I hate the artifice, but it is a star turn. I mean, what a star turn, what a triple coup to begin a story thus, with “And,” when nothing at all has gone before, with “in the second place,” when there has been no first place, with “because,” when there has been no why and there will be no indication what, what thing, what happening, what act, what state of mind, will follow on account of that because. The world is everything that is the case, of course, begins the work of Wittgenstein, and more. So dry and flat, in its self-contained, almost impacted quality there is nonetheless a kind of rolling thunder. True, self-evident, beyond any doubt, it creates a terrible sense of what it is possible, what it might be worthwhile, to say at all. Language, thought, advancing like bulldozers, like cement. Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist. Who could argue that the world includes things that are not the case, that some things that are not the case at all are hidden somewhere in the world? Only a specious poet or a trendy French philosopher, toying with metaphor, unworthy of the statement’s august truth. And yet, after the first flash of awe and admiration, the loss is inescapable. I mean, who wants to write specious half-truths. On the other hand, who wants to write cement.

i just like this

—p.32 I. ORCAS ISLAND (5) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

You are, you know, you were the nearest thing to a real story to happen in my life.

Yet here I am, for the first time and yet again, alone at last on Orcas Island.

Did I throw the most important thing perhaps, by accident, away?

oh no

—p.35 I. ORCAS ISLAND (5) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

And then one night, when you were about to leave for the island where you spend your weeks at Christmas, and your wife was already there but your children, the last of whom has now grown up, were not this year going with you, I said, I’m afraid I said, You know, we wouldn’t have to make love as much as this in a night, in a single night after a day of tiredness and errands, and before an early morning of more errands and long absence, we wouldn’t have to make love as much as this in a single night if someday we had a week. It was late. We were drunk, though not very. And then I said, You know. You said, What. I said, I guess we are never going to have a week. And then I’m afraid I wept. We were quiet then, as we usually are. But there are things you can say, I think, or suggest, or even contemplate aloud just once. And I had begun. So I said, because after all these years I had to say something, though it may be far too late to say it, When it’s time for me to go, do you want me to ask you or tell you or should I just quietly go. You said, But I don’t want you to go, I need you here. I said, No, and in a way you’ve wanted me to go for years, and I’ve known it, but I just couldn’t do it. Then you said, not speaking as to a child any longer, But you can’t go, everything will just disintegrate if you go. I was touched, and I said whatever I said, about how bored you are sometimes. You said, But you always have something new to tell me; and if you go I’ll just shrivel up, I’ll just shrivel up like a prune. We went to sleep. And by morning, of course, you had forgotten. Remembered by afternoon, I think, only that I had been unhappy, remembered a phrase or two, but remembered by then as though it were a childhood thing, one of your daughters homesick at school, perhaps, or briefly sentimental at parting when you and their mother went away, or, more recently, when they went away themselves, to their men or their jobs, abroad. So it was only as if I had said once again that while you were gone I would miss you. And we have said that so often, everyone says it, in such a formula way, it has almost no meaning. And to make me feel better, you said again that you loved me, and gave me, as a sort of Christmas present, that word about your having made love only with me in all these years. And I could not, how could I, turn away, so I just said, Not anyone? and then, Neither have I.

—p.39 I. ORCAS ISLAND (5) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

“I’ll get over it.”

“Will you?”

“Yes. And you’ll find somebody else.” Your face froze. You said, “I won’t.” I said, “You will. The thing is, I won’t mind so much. Because I won’t know.”

Look here, you know. I loved you.

Well, the question occurs, so many times, clearing desks, doing income tax, looking for letters, documents, some are missing, one doesn’t know for sure which are lost, doesn’t dare even to look too carefully, time and time again, there is this, Did I throw the most important thing perhaps, by accident, away?

—p.42 I. ORCAS ISLAND (5) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

[...] I ask Nicole where she is from. She says Chicago, with what is so clearly a German o that I’m taken aback. I just say, Really. She says, Before that Minneapolis. I have now firmly decided that by tomorrow I shall be gone from Ireland. [...]


—p.77 II. PITCH DARK (43) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

[...] Nicole says, When I was a child, and Papa, of course, was a conductor. William, from the depths of his cups, says, helpfully, Orchestral? And Nicole, annoyed, perhaps, at the interruption, says, U-Boat. There is a pause. She says, more improbably still, In those days, everyone’s Papa was. Back home in Chicago? I wonder, or Minneapolis?


—p.80 II. PITCH DARK (43) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

Well, I called the Danish baron, and his accent seemed instantly recognizable to me. I thought, What is this German pretending to be a Dane doing on an American island, six hundred miles from Vancouver, which is the nearest outpost to Siberia. I thought, a war criminal. My state of mind. I still resolved to go. [...]


—p.106 III. HOME (96) by Renata Adler 1 year, 1 month ago

Showing results by Renata Adler only