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The Mirror & the Light

Hilary Mantel

Top 10 Best Quotes

“This is what life does for you in the end; it arranges a fight you can't win.”

“That's the point of a promise, he thinks. It wouldn't have any value, if you could see what it would cost you when you made it.”

“But if you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?”

“We are all dying, just at different speeds.”

“If you marvel at your good fortune, you should marvel in secret: never let people see you.”

“It was not by a serpent, but by paper and ink that evil came into the world.”

“But the law is not an instrument to find out truth. It is there to create a fiction that will help us move past atrocious act and face our future. It seems there is no mercy in this world, but a kind of haphazard justice: men pay for crimes, but not necessarily their own.”

“What is a woman’s life? Do not think, because she is not a man, she does not fight. The bedchamber is her tilting ground, where she shows her colours, and her theatre of war is the sealed room where she gives birth. She knows she may not come alive out of that bloody chamber. Before her lying-in, if she is prudent, she settles her affairs. If she dies, she will be lamented and forgotten. If the child dies, she will be blamed. If she lives, she must hide her wounds. Her injuries are secret, and her sisters talk about them behind the hand. It is Eve’s sin, the long continuing punishment it incurred, that tears at her from the inside and shreds her. Whereas we bless an old soldier and give him alms, pitying his blind or limbless state, we do not make heroes of women mangled in the struggle to give birth. If she seems so injured that she can have no more children, we commiserate with her husband.”

“Everybody wants something, if only for the pain to stop.”

“What can you do but, as Cicero says, live hopefully, die bravely?”

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Book Keywords:

thomas-cromwell, thomas-wyatt

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