Five Cats and Three Women
‘While he didn't mind (not much anyway) being responsible for the death of one cat, his cat, he did not feel good shouldering the death of four cats.’
Kinder Than Solitude
‘Being let down was Celia’s fate; life never failed to bestow upon her pain and disappointment she had to suffer on everyone’s behalf, so that the world could go on being a good place, free from real calamities.’
The War Artist
‘On the third day, the little rosebud teacups rattled in their saucers as the war artist poured the coffee.’
Two Girls in a Boat
‘This was a tiredness that caused Hannah to walk into a travel agent in Clapham High Street on a grey Tuesday morning and buy a ticket to New Zealand.’
The Moon and the Batteries
‘His full name was Mr Harutsuna Matsumoto, but I called him ‘Sensei’. Not ‘Mr’ or ‘Sir’, just ‘Sensei’.’
‘Consider a long and famous river; it teems with salmon and story, winds majestic through the most various of Scotland's shires.’
‘You won't know me, won't see my face. Unless you see my face. And then it will be too late.’
‘Please, I beg you. If I do not buy lederhosen now, I will never buy lederhosen.’
‘If I had known she were heading for Tokyo then, and if I had known she thought of Tokyo as a city of zombies, I would have wanted to know, of course, whether she saw me that way, too.’
‘They were two sisters of youthful middle age with three breasts between them and a history that might be summed up as much left unsaid. Maggie, the elder, who'd had a mastectomy eighteen months before, rarely alluded to the fact in her younger sister's company and spoke with an air of startled reproach if Esther brought up the subject of her health; as if Maggie's breast cancer were a symptom of a moral weakness, a deficiency of character, about which Esther had no right to know.’
Notes for a Young Gentleman
‘A gentleman should greet with genuine warmth only the following persons – his sister’s daughters, his maternal aunts and his mortal enemies.’
The Judgement of Lut
‘The point is, in the tower, on that night, certain gods revealed themselves to one another and came into conflict.‘
Soul and Body
‘What was screaming in fact was the naive idealism of her love trying to banish all contradictions, banish the duality of the body and soul, banish perhaps even time.’
God Bless You, 2011
‘If the god of uranium really exists, then what must he be thinking? Were this a fairy tale of old, what would happen when humans broke the laws of nature to turn gods into minions?’ Hiromi Kawakami on the nature gods of Japan.
‘Houses loomed like ghosts. The government’s face was everywhere: on the sides of a beached cart, above the lintel of the post office.’
The Great Wall
‘They've been making every imaginable special case for him for all eternity, they even sing hymns in his honour’.
‘It was at sundown on New Year's Day 1954 that Claire Hathaway began to feel embarrassed by her new television set.’
Crossing Cut Creek | New Voices
‘Light rose over Mama’s tanned arms, Keller’s dirty hair. The air was thick with colour and swirling dust, and we were still, suspended in it.’
‘Whale arrived at work a little after seven with black circles round his eyes’.
‘It was eating oysters, four hundred of the bivalve sons-of-bitches, that finally killed my father, in a theatre-bar off St Martin's Lane.‘
Things Remembered and Things Forgotten
It was something Takashi remembered but Masaru had forgotten.
‘A rustling, then a voice, came from behind the door – the voice of a man who couldn’t be much older than I. A cousin? A secret half-brother? ‘Bloodgood.’’
‘They hide in the hollows of the heart, warming themselves in the downy scarf of the child’s soul, leaking poisons of old hurt.’
The Salt Wife
'Martha worked in a radio-biology lab in Manhattan, and when Larry, her husband of seven years, left her at last for the cause of art, she decided to accept a long-standing invitation from a lab in Los Angeles to visit their operation and talk about her work.'
‘She lay there, her hand on her jeans in the place where she’d seen John’s head coming out of his mother.’
‘Late June, scorched grass and sprinklers, the sky as if scuffed and beaten. Too hot to work, too lazy to think.’
‘What can damage us more? The blunt honesty of hatred, or the thwarted objective of reconciliation?’