Originally posted on October 6, 2010
Ever notice that each well-written book has one quote or an instance of narrative inside it that embodies the essence of that book?
I was skimming through some books, which I recently read/re-read, paying closer attention to the authors’ style and characterization techniques, and voice and the way they played with plots and sub-plots.
It is during this exercise that I realized what true talent it takes to be able to distill the whole plot, purpose and theme of a novel into just a few short, well-chosen bouquets of words.
Here are some true gems, spoken or narrated by the (a) main character in each of the books.
- Julian smiled. “Not quite,” he said. “Let us say that I am as American as pizza pie. I did not originate here, but I am here to stay.”
— The View from Saturday, E.L.Konigsburg
- He liked to forget he was Luke Garner, third child hidden in the attic.
— Among the Hidden, Margaret Peterson Haddix
- “This case is as simple as black and white.”
— To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
- His father thought. “No, I don’t think so. Of course the Elders are so careful in their observations and selections.”
— The Giver, Lois Lowry
- The rain is a cool kiss on my sleeve as I link my arm through hers. “We’re all damaged somehow.”
— A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray
- “Ever since I was little,” Mullet Fingers said, “I’ve been watchin’ this place disappear – the piney woods, the scrub, the creeks, the glades. Even the beaches, man – they put up all these giant hotels and only goober tourists are allowed. It really sucks.”
— Hoot, Carl Hiaasen
- I don’t make up lies for no reason. I just move the truth around a little when it gets in my way. What’s the big deal about that?
— Notes from a Liar and Her Dog, Gennifer Choldenko
- “It’s less a matter of looking the other way than of closing our eyes to what we can’t stop from happening.”
— Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
- Finally, I’m a grown-up! Finally, I’m a child.
— Deliver Us from Normal, Kate Klise
- “A woman’s place – our place, Roshan – is behind the veil, behind the zenana’s walls, and if you want to do anything at all, do it here, in this space. But,” Jahanara added, unable to be kind to a sister she did not like, “you can do little, Roshan, you are but a second daughter. Stay away from the jharoka.”
— Shadow Princess, Indu Sundaresan
Do you have a favorite quote from a book?