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The Radetzky March

Joseph Roth

Top 10 Best Quotes

“A lot of truths about the living world are recorded in bad books; they are just badly written about.”

“That was how things were back then. Anything that grew took its time growing, and anything that perished took a long time to be forgotten. But everything that had once existed left its traces, and people lived on memories just as they now live on the ability to forget quickly and emphatically.”

“There is a fear of voluptuousness that is itself voluptuous, just as a certain fear of death can itself be deadly.”

“The good man believed that shortsighted people were also deaf and that their spectacles would become clearer if their ears heard more sharply.”

“In those days before the Great War when the events narrated in this book took place, it had not yet become a matter of indifference whether a man lived or died. When one of the living had been extinguished another did not at once take his place in order to obliterate him: there was a gap where he had been, and both close and distant witnesses of his demise fell silent whenever they became aware of his gap. When fire had eaten away a house from the row of others in a street, the burnt-out space remained long empty. Masons worked slowly and cautiously. Close neighbors and casual passers-by alike, when they saw the empty space, remembered the aspect and walls of the vanished house. That was how things were then. Everything that grew took its time in growing and everything that was destroyed took a long time to be forgotten. And everything that had once existed left its traces so that in those days people lived on memories, just as now they live by the capacity to forget quickly and completely.”

“In no time, the platoon were on their feet in front of him, formed up into two ranks, and it struck him suddenly, and probably for the first time in his military career, that these men with their drilled precision were dead parts of dead machines that didn't produce anything.”

“Gradually too, Trotta's disappointment was replaced by a sweet melancholy. He made a pact with his sadness. Everything in the world was as sad as it could be, and at the very heart of this wretched world was the Lieutenant. It was for him that the frogs were bruiting so piteously tonight, and the pain-filled crickets were waiting on his behalf. It was for him that the spring night was filled with such a sweet and easy sadness, for him that the stars were positioned so unattainably high in the sky, and it was to him alone that their light blinked so longingly and vainly. The unending pain of the world fitted itself to Trotta's hurt.”

“That is how a farmer walks across the soil in spring--and later, in summer, the traces of his steps are obscured by the billowing richness of the wheat he once sowed.”

“Our grandfathers didn't leave us much strength, not enough strength to live with, but just about enough to die a meaningless death. Ach!”

“His heart was pounding. But his soul was easy.”

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Book Keywords:

grandfathers, officer, pain, disappointment, pounding-heart, death, suffering, funny, army

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