Quotes By A Wild Swan: And Other Tales

“Most of us are safe. If you're not a delirious dream the gods are having, if your beauty doesn't trouble the constellations, nobody's going to cast a spell on you.”


“Most of us can be counted on to manage our own undoings.”


“End of story. ‘Happily ever after’ fell on everyone like a guillotine’s blade.”


“He knows about damage the way a woman does. He knows, the way a woman knows, how to carry on as if nothing’s wrong.”


“The implication of this particular tale is: Trust strangers. Believe in magic.”


“But magic is sometimes all about knowing where the secret door is, and how to open it. With that, you’re gone”


“There’s the appeal of the young thief who robs you, and climbs back down off your cloud. It’s possible to love that boy, in a wistful and hopeless way. It’s possible to love his greed and narcissism, to grant him that which is beyond your own capacities: heedlessness, cockiness, a self-devotion so pure it borders on the divine.”


“Sometimes the fabric that separates us tears just enough for love to shine through. Sometimes the tear is surprisingly small.”


“One of the reasons ordinary people are incapable of magic is simple dearth of conviction.”


“There are two of you now. Neither is sufficient unto itself, but you learn, over time, to join your two halves together, and hobble around. There are limits to what you can do, though you’re able to get from place to place. Each half, naturally enough, requires the cooperation of the other, and you find yourself getting snappish with yourself; you find yourself cursing yourself for your clumsiness, your overeagerness, your lack of consideration for your other half. You feel it doubly. Still, you go on. Still, you step in tandem, make your slow and careful way up and down the stairs, admonishing, warning, each of you urging the other to slow down, or speed up, or wait a second. What else can you do? Each would be helpless without the other. Each would be stranded, laid flat, abandoned, bereft.”


“Who knows what succession of girls and boys sneak in through the sliding glass doors at night, after the mother has sunk to the bottom of her own private lake, with the help of Absolut and Klonopin?”


“Who wouldn’t want to fuck these people up? Which of us does not understand, in our own less presentable depths, the demons and wizards compelled to persecute human mutations clearly meant, by deities thinking only of their own entertainment, to make almost everyone feel even lonelier and homelier, more awkward, more doubtful and blamed, than we actually are?”


“It's the solitude that slays you. Maybe because you'd expected ruin to arrive in a grander and more romantic form.”


“He could see himself selling himself as a compelling mutation, a young god, proud to the point of sexy arrogance of his anatomical deviation: ninety percent thriving muscled man-flesh and ten percent glorious blindingly white angel wing.
Baby, these feathers are going to tickle you halfway to heaven, and this man-part is going to take you the rest of the way.”


“Welcome to the darker side of love.”


“They hope they’ll learn to be happier together. They also yearn, sometimes, for the point at which misery becomes so profound as to leave them no alternative.”


“Were you relieved, maybe just a little, when they lifted you up (you weighed almost nothing by then) and shoved you into the oven? Did it seem unanticipated but right, somehow - did it strike you as satisfying, as a fate finally realized - when they slammed the door behind you?”


“But you find—surprise—that you like this capitulation from her, this helpless acceding, from the most recent embodiment of all the girls over all the years who've given you nothing, not even a curious glance. Welcome to the darker side of love.”