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Gun Island

Amitav Ghosh

Top 10 Best Quotes

“People think that knowing the future can help you prepare for what is to come - but often it only makes you powerless.”

“the possibility of our deliverance lies not in the future but in the past, in a mystery beyond memory.”

“[On the cities of Venice and Varanasi] Everywhere you look there is evidence of the enchantment of decay, of a kind of beauty that can only be revealed by a long, slow fading.”

“Well what can you expect?' I retorted. 'Those people are, as you say, simple and uneducated. Wasn't it Marx who said that peasants are like sacks of potatoes? Is it surprising that their lives are filled with gods and goddesses and demons?' She glanced at me again. 'You really do not care for ordinary people, do you?' The imputation of elitism made me bridle. 'Why you're quite wrong!' I said. 'I consider myself a person of the left. As a student I was a Maoist fellow traveller. I've always stood in solidarity with peasants and workers.' 'Oh yes, certo!' she said, suppressing a giggle. 'I knew many Maoists and fellow travellers in Italy. They had every regard for the bellies and bodies of poor people - but not, I think, for what is in their heads.”

“There are few expressions in the English language that are less attractive to women than 'Rare Book Dealer.”

“That happens you know, as you grow older – you can’t tell the dreams from the memories.”

“It would seem that the intellectual titans of the Enlightenment had no inkling of what was getting under way. Yet, strangely, all around the earth, ordinary people seem to have sensed the stirring of something momentous. They seemed to have understood that a process had been launched that could lead ultimately to catastrophe: what they didn't allow for was that the story might take a few hundred years to play out. It has fallen to us, centuries later, to bear witness to the last turn of the wheel. And what we are seeing already -' he paused to point a finger in the direction of the distant wildfires - 'should be enough to remind us that the climatic perturbations of the Little Ice Age were trivial compared to what is in store for us now. What our ancestors experienced is but a pale foreshadowing of what the future holds!”

“Couldn't it be said that it was in the seventeenth century that we started down the path that has brought us to where we are now? After all, it was then that Londoners began to use coal on a large scale, for heating, which was how our dependence on fossil fuels started. Would your Jacobean playwrights have written as they did if they hadn't had coal fires to warm them? Did they know that an angry beast, which had long lain dormant within the earth, was coming to life? Did Hobbes or Leibniz or any of the other thinkers of the Enlightenment have any understanding of this?”

“it was Manutius who invented italics, introduced the semicolon and gave the comma its distinctive hooked shape. As”

“That the world of today presents all the symptoms of demonic possession.”

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Book Keywords:

climate-change, little-ice-age, world-today, beauty, knowledge, decay, prepare, fossil-fuels, enlightenment, future, demonic-possession, coal, powerless, wilting

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