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Tender Morsels

Margo Lanagan

Top 10 Best Quotes

“You are pure-hearted, Branza, and lovely, and you have never done a moment's wrong. But you are a living creature, born to make a real life, however it cracks your heart. However sweet that other place was, it was not real. It was an artifact of your mam's imagination; it was a dream of hers and a desire; you could not have stayed there forever and called yourself alive. Now you are in the true world, and a great deal more is required of you. Here you must befriend real wolves, and lure real birds down from the sky. Here you must endure real people around you, and we are not uniformly kind; we are damaged and impulsive, each in our own way. It is harder. It is not safe. But it is what you were born to.”

“There is something about talking in the night, with the shreds of sleep around your ears, with the silences between one remark and another, the town dark and dreaming beyond your own walls. It draws the truth out of you, straight from its little dark pool down there, where usually you guard it so careful, and wave your hands over it and hum and haw to protect people's feelings, to protect your own . . . You can bring out the jaggedest feelings - if you are my wife and know how to state them calm - into the night quiet. They will float there for consideration, harming no one.”

“Now you are in the true world, and a great deal more is required of you. Here you must befriend real wolves, and lure real birds down from the sky. Here you must endure real people around you, and we are not uniformly kind; we are damaged and impulsive, each in our own way. It is harder. It is not safe. But it is what you were born to.”

“She hardly knew what to do, it had been so long since such strong feelings had borne down on her. It was like carrying another creature inside her, and nothing so benign and natural as a baby. Undamped, untamed, the pain and exultation of her attachment to them blew through Liga like a storm-wind carrying sharp leaves and struggling birds. How long she had known her daughters, and how well, and in what extraordinary vividness and detail! How blithely she had done the work of rearing them - it seemed to her now that she had had cause for towering, disabling anxieties about them; that what had seemed little plaints and sorrows in their childhoods were in fact off-drawings from much greater tragedies, from which she had tried to keep them but could not. And the joys she had had of them, too, their embraces and laughter - it was all too intense to be endured, this connection with them, which was a miniature of the connection with the forces that drove planet and season - the relentlessness of them, the randomness, the susceptibility to glory, to accident, to disaster. How soft had been her life in that other place, how safe and mild! And here she was, back where terrors could immobilize her, and wonders too; where life might become gulps of strong ale rather than sips of bloom-tea. She did not know whether she was capable of lifting the cup, let alone drinking the contents.”

“But heart's desires? My dear, I see by your misery - by this very request you are making - that you know more of true men's and women's hearts than once you did, than your mother's world permitted you to see. Such chipped and cracked and outright broken things they are, are they not? They have their illnesses too, and their impulses. And hearts are not always connected well to minds, and even if they are, minds are not always clear and commonsensical. A heart may desire a thing powerfully indeed, but that heart's desire might be what a person least needs, for her health, for her continuing happiness.”

“The earth’s lungs, coated in green ooze and thaw, breathed out blossom-scent and sour rot and fungus-must, wet and warm and aware, where before the air had been cold and blind, remote as the moon.”

“You may never be entirely happy; few people are. You may never achieve your heart's desire in this world, for people seldom do. Sit by enough deathbeds, Branza, and you will hear your fill of stories of missed chances, and wrong turnings, and spurned opportunities for love. It is required of you only to be here, not to be happy.”

“These words came, quite clear, like small, evil people, across the cobbles to Branza’s ankles, where they stood and smirked up at her.”

“Life is so long, and too hard, and then it ends so cruel and sudden!”

“I knew that place should be my home, but after my night in Noer's mind it seemed a peculiar pile, its streets a maze, needlessly crowded, where we slender people, so naked of fur we must make extra skins for ourselves, muddled and ambled and skipped in our dance of alliances and enmities, offenses and fancies. We thought too much; we calculated too hard. I would rather have wandered among trees, with their more meaningful conversation. I would rather have been solitary and unharried, never required to speak nor account for myself to do anything else but what come natural.”

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