I always say the truth is best even when we find it unpleasant. Any rat in a sewer can lie. It’s how rats are. It’s what makes them rats. But a human doesn’t run and hide in dark places, because he’s something more. Lying is the most personal act of cowardice there is.
-Matteo Alacarn, The House of the Scorpion, Nancy Farmer, 2002
Sleep is not, death is not;
Who seem to die live.
House you were born in,
Friends of your springtime,
Old man and young maid,
Day’s toil and it guerdon,
They are all vanishing,
Fleeing to fables,
Cannot be moored.
-Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Featured in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs, 2011
‘I’ve been thinking,’ he said. ‘Maybe I’m ready to settle down. I’ll take you home, then find myself a nice girl to marry.’ He looked thoughtful as he considered his future. ‘Maybe there is a family somewhere who needs a good, strong man. A family with an available daughter. But she must also be a lady. And someone who will be a good friend.’ He brushed a leftover straw from her hair, never taking his eyes off here. ‘Someone who is both beautiful and strong.’
Did he mean her? She glanced over her shoulder as if some exquisite maiden might emerge from the trees. That seemed more likely than Rhys meaning her. He knew she was lame.
The Gwyllion’s words came to her mind. Stars do not shine on dreamers but only on those who see the truth.
She had been a dreamer; that was truth. To think she had honestly believed she would marry the king’s son. No girl had dreamed bigger. She’d thought Urien’s love for her was truth. She had been altogether wrong. Urien had not loved her; that was Urien’s truth.
What was Rhys’s truth?
A dozen scenes played through her mind. Rhys, sitting at her bedside through the night, trying to bring down her fever. Rhys, rubbing her feet with salve, working to get some strength back into them. Rhys, carrying her up the mountain to see the snow lilies in bloom. Rhys, facing Urien in the water of battle, giving up everything- to save her.
He’d done more for her than any other man alive. That had to count for something.
That had to count for everything.
The truth hit her softly yet utterly and completely. She cared for Rhys more than she’d ever cared for anyone.
She lowered her eyes and stared at her ruined legs.
It couldn’t be.
She was mistaken.
With barely a whisper, she repeated the question she had asked herself for eight, long years. ‘Who would want a crippled wife?’
Rhys took a step toward her. With a rough and calloused finger, he wiped a tear from her eye, then reached out, pulling her close. ‘I think I might know someone.’
–Unraveled: A Tale of True Love, Julie Daines, 2014
Listen to me. Love is a Yeti. It is bigger than you and frightening and terrible. It makes loud and vicious noises. It is hungry all the time. It has horns and teeth and the force of its fists is more than anyone can bear. It speeds up time and slows it down. And it has its own aims and missions that those who are lucky enough to see it cannot begin to guess. You might see a Yeti once in your life or never. You might live in a village of them. But in the end, not matter how fast you think you can go, the Yeti is always faster than you, and you can only choose how you say hello to it, and whether you shake its hand.
-The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two, Catherynne M. Valente, 2013
She grinned at me. “You got types?”
“Only you, darling – lanky brunettes with wicked jaws.”
“And how about the red-head you wandered off with at Quinns’ last night?”
“That’s silly,” I said. “She just wanted to show me some French etchings.
-Nick talking to wife Nora, The Thin Man, Dashiel Hammett, 1933
I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life, and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. And yet I cannot pretend that the reading I have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child. I still believe in stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Yet it is not the same. Books are, for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child, books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one ever expects to be fulfilled.
-The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield, 2006
It’s a goodly life that you lead, friends; no doubt the best in the world, if only you are strong enough to lead it!”Yes, it’s the life, the only life, to live,’ responded the Water Rat dreamily, and without his usual whole-hearted conviction.
‘I did not exactly say that,’ the stranger replied cautiously, ‘but no doubt it’s the best. I’ve tried it, and I know. And because I’ve tried it – six months of it – and know it’s the best, here I am, footsore and hungry, tramping away from it, tramping southward, following the old call, back to the old life, the life which is mine and which will not let me go.
-The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame, 1908