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Engine Summer

John Crowley

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Time, I think, is like walking backward away from something: say, from a kiss. First there is the kiss; then you step back, and the eyes fill up your vision, then the eyes are framed in the face as you step further away; the face then is part of a body, and then the body is framed in a doorway, then the doorway framed in the trees beside it. The path grows longer and the door smaller, the trees fill up your sight and the door is lost, then the path is lost in the woods and the woods lost in the hills. Yet somewhere in the center still is the kiss. That's what time is like.”

“The better you tell an old story, the more you are talking about right now.”

“path is only a name for a place where you find yourself. Where you're going on it is only a story. Where you've been on it is only another. Some of the stories are pleasant ones; some are not. That's dark and light.”

“I could be listening to Painted Red weave the stories of the saints in her rich roomy voice, and beginning to see how all those stories were in some way one story: a simple story about being alive, and being a man; a story that, simple as it was, couldn't itself be told.”

“I learned, as the raft moved and I slid through the day, as the day slid through me, to let the task be master: which is only not to choose to do anything but what has chosen me to be done.”

“...only think a moment that we are here now, and that that was then, and it has come to this, and how odd, odd, odd it is!”

“There's a time in some years, after the first frosts, when the sun gets hot again, and summer returns for a time. Winter is coming; you know that from the way the mornings smell, the way the leaves, half-turned to color, are dry and poised to drop. But summer goes on, a small false summer, all the more precious for being small and false. In Little Belaire, we called this time--for some reason nobody knows--engine summer.”

“In those ancient rooms near the center of Belaire all our wisdom originates, born in the gossip's mind as she sits to watch the Filing System or think on the saints. Things come together, and the saint or the System reveals a new thing not thought before to be there, but which once born spirals out like Path along the cords, being changed by them as it goes. As I got older, the stories of the saints which Painted Red told absorbed me more and more; when one day I stayed after everyone else had gone, hoping to hear more, Painted Red said to me: 'Remember, Rush, there's no one who would not rather be happy than be a saint.' I nodded, but I didn't know what she meant. It seemed to me that anyone who was a saint would have to be happy. I wanted to be a saint, though I told no one, and the thought gave me nothing but joy.”

“Sometimes the snake's-hands in a story are the best part, if the story is a long one.”

“In the last month of winter," she began, almost as though she were talking only to the cat at her feet, "which is the first of spring, the ice on the river, which had been solid and could bear weight, broke up and floated away in great clashing chunks, which makes a pretty sight. "The ice asked: How is it that the river could accomplish such a thing? And the river might answer: Ice set itself a task it could not finish, and all that was left undone remained the river; and for the undoing of what you did do, well, it wasn't I at all but time and changes, and I am left.”

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Book Keywords:

insightful, distance, walking-away, odd, then, nature, past-and-present, time, description, stories, strangeness, surreal, allegory, now, science-fiction, kiss, backwards, memory, dystopia

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