Great Moments in Literature

“Like many slobs, Beard was appreciative of the order that others created without effort, or any that he noticed. In Melissa’s flat, which was spread out over two floors, he was particularly happy. She lived such an uncluttered life at home. There were open perspectives untroubled by furniture. The foot-wide beeswaxed floorboards recovered from a Gascony château shone with dull perfection. There were no loose objects, all the books were on the shelves in the right order, at least until he visited, and the art on the walls was sparse lithographs, mostly of dancers. There was a single statue, a Henry Moore maquette. Other surfaces justified themselves by their own particular empty dustless gleam. In the bedroom, no clothes were on view and the bed, unruffled as a millpond, was as big as any he had seen in an American hotel. Melissa’s was the sort of place whose ambience Beard could wreck in two minutes by sitting down in it, shrugging off his coat, opening his briefcase, and removing his shoes. He never felt at home unless he was shoeless. But he was impressed by her apartment, it seemed like the embodiment of mental freedom, and he did his best not to litter it, and was partially successful.”

                     --Ian McEwan, Solar, 2010

“IN THE GIBBOUS GLOW OF TWIN WITCHFIRES, THE TWO-HEADED GOD DOES SEEM TO LEAR AND GIBBER AMONG THE MURKY TENDRILS OF MUSKY INCENSE–BUT THEN IT IS GONE AGAIN–WRAPPED IN SHIFTING SMOKE AND STYGIAN SHADOWS…AND ONE CANNOT BE CERTAIN. WHILE BELOW, THERE IS STILL THE DWARF…AND THE DAGGER!

                     --Steve Englehart, THE DEFENDERS, Vol. 1, No. 1, 
                             "I Slay By the Stars!" 1972

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