Ian Mcewan Quotes (67 Quotes)


    Dearest Cecilia, You'd be forgiven for thinking me mad, the way I acted this afternoon. The truth is I feel rather light headed and foolish in your presence, Cee, and I don't think I can blame the heat.

    In that shrinking moment he discovered that he had never hated anyone until now. It was a feeling as pure as love, but dispassionate and icily rational.

    She returned his gaze, struck by the sense of her own transformation, and overwhelmed by the beauty which a lifetime havit had taught her to ignore.

    Despite his first, the study of English literature seemed in retrospect an absorbing parlor game, and reading books and having opinions about them, the desirable adjunct to a civilized existence. But it was not the core, whatever Dr. Leavis said in his lectures.

    Initially, a simple phrase chased round and round in Cecilia's thoughts: Of course, of course. How had she not seen it? Everything was explained. The whole day, the weeks before, her childhood. A lifetime. It was clear to her now. Why else take so long to choose a dress, or fight over a vase, or find everything so different, or be unable to leave? What had made her so blind, so obtuse?


    She thought of Robbie at dinner when there had been something manic and glazed in his look. Might he be smoking the reefers she had read about in a magazine, these cigarettes that drove young men of bohemian inclination across the borders of insanity?

    Everything that impeded him had to be outweighed, even if only by a fraction, by all that drove him on.

    Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destory?

    She wanted to leave, she wanted to lie alone face down on her bed and savor the vile piquancy of the moment, and go back down the lines of branching consequences to the point before the destruction began. She needed to contemplate with eyes closed the full richness of what she had lost, what she had given away, and to anticipate the new regime.


    It is quite impossible these days to assume anything about people's educational level from the way they talk or dress or from their taste in music. Safest to treat everyone you meet as a distinguished intellectual.

    She was like a bride-to-be who begins to feel her sickening qualms as the day approaches, and dares not speak her mind because so many preparations have been made on her behalf the happiness and convenience of so many good people would be put at risk.


    It was common enough, to see so much death and want a child. Common, therefore human, and he wanted it all the more. When the wounded were screaming, you dreamed of sharing a little house somewhere, of an ordinary life, a family line, connection.

    Something has happened, hasn't it? ... It's like being up close to something so large you don't even see it. Even now, I'm not sure I can. But I know it's there.

    A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.

    From this new and intimate perspective, she learned a simple, obvious thing she had always known, and everyone knew; that a person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended.

    It was not generally realized that what children mostly wanted was to be left alone.


    A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it.


    It was thought, perception, sensations that interested her, the conscious mind as a river through time, and how to represent its onward roll, as well as all the tributaries that would swell it, and the obstacles that would divert it. If only she could reproduce the clear light of a summer's morning,

    The anticipation and dread he felt at seeing her was also a kind of sensual pleasure, and surrounding it, like an embrace, was a general elation--it might hurt, it was horribly inconvenient, no good might come of it, but he had found out for himself what it was to be in love, and it thrilled him.

    Above all, she wanted to look as though she had not given the matter a moment's thought, and that would take time.

    He had never before felt so self-consciously young, nor experienced such appetite, such impatience for the story to begin.

    It wasn't torpor that kept her - she was often restless to the point of irritability. She simply liked to feel that she was prevented from leaving, that she was needed.

    The evasions of her little novel were exactly those of her life. Everything she did not wish to confront was also missing from her novella--and was necessary to it.

    And now she was back in the world, not one she could make, but the one that had made her, and she felt herself shrinking under the early evening sky. She was weary of being outdoors, but she was not ready to go in. Was that really all there was in life, indoors or out? Wasn't there somewhere else for people to go?

    He knew these last lines by heart and mouthed them now in the darkness. My reason for life. Not living, but life. That was the touch. And she was his reason for life, and why he must survive.

    I've never had a moment's doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one. My reason for life. Cee


    More Ian McEwan Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Time - Life - Love - Thought & Thinking - Mind - World - Sense & Perception - Smoking - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Man - Youth - Light - Ian Mcewan Quotes on People - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Justice - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Imagination & Visualization - Ian Mcewan Quotes on Future - Education - Truth - Memory - Childhood - View All Ian McEwan Quotations

    More Ian McEwan Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Atonement

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