From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
Mr. Levov. You've done everything wrong you possibly could've.
-Since when? Excuse me? I've done everything wrong since when?
That's a question you're gonna have to answer for yourself, Mr. Levov.
How did I end up here? You. You. You wouldn't leave me alone. Had to marry me. I just wanted to teach music. That's what I wanted. To teach kids music in the school system... and be left alone by boys. That's it. I never wanted to be
Miss Union County... Miss crazy New Jersey... Miss America. I wanted a scholarship. I wanted a degree... a job. But then you arrived. You. Those hands. You wouldn't let me breathe! Every time I looked up, there's my boyfriend, gaga because I was some ridiculous beauty queen.
Lady Dawn of the manor? I know all there is to know about Lady fxcking Dawn. So ashamed of her class origins, she had to become lady of the fxcking manor and turn her daughter into a debutante.
-"A debutante"? Merry shoveled cow shit since the age of six. She rode tractors, she's 4-H.
Fake. All fake. The daughter of the beauty queen and the captain of the football team? What kind of nightmare is that for a girl with a soul?
-Dawn is not a beauty queen. She works a farm all day.
Fake, fake. She works a farm like a fxcking upper-class landowner.
-"Upper class"? Her father was a plumber! Her grandfather was an Irish milk farmer!
Swede Levov. How much do you pay the workers in your factory in Puerto Rico?
-I don't have a factory in Puerto Rico. I stayed right here.
How much do you pay the women going blind stitching gloves for the ladies at Bendel's and Macy's?
-You've seen how unhappy my employees are. That's why they've worked for me for 40 years, because they're so exploited. Who are you? You don't even know what you're talking about.
You own your people. You own them, you use them, you sleep with them, and then when you're done...
Let's remember the energy. America had won the war. The depression was over. Sacrifice was over. The upsurge of life was contagious. We celebrated a moment of collective inebriation that we would never know again.
-We're a small Indian sect. I wear the veil to do no harm to the organisms that dwell in the air.
You come at people with an open mind and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You get them wrong while you're with them or you tell someone about them and get them wrong again.
He had learned the worst lesson that life can teach - that it makes no sense.
"I renounce all killing of living beings, whether subtle or gross, moveable or immovable. I renounce all vices of lying speech arising from anger. I renounce all sexual pleasure with either Gods or men, all taking of anything not given."
SummaryAdd a Summary
The novel's excerpt on "Jain":
"You ask a profound question. You are a very intelligent man, Daddy. You ask, 'If you respect life in all forms, how can you live?' The answer is you cannot. The traditional way by which a Jain holy man ends his life is by salla khana—self-starvation. Ritual death by salla khana is the price paid for perfection by the perfect Jain"
"I cannot believe this is you. I have to tell you what I think.
"Of course you do."
I cannot believe, clever as you are, that you know what you are saying or what you are doing here or why. I cannot believe that you are telling me that a point will come when you will decide that you will not even destroy plant lite, and that you wont eat anything and that you will just doom yourself to death. For whom, Merry?. For what?"
"It's all right. It's all right, Daddy. I can believe that you can't believe that you know what I'm saying or what I' m doing or why."
His father was right. That was what happened. They raised a child who was neither Catholic nor Jew, who instead was first a stutterer, then a killer, then a Jain. He had tried all his life never to do the wrong thing, and that was what he had done.
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