Sometimes you read a line and it sticks, maybe because it’s insightful or funny or worthy of debate. Here are a few quotes like that from Viking.

Have a favorite quote you’d like to add?

“Julie donned new jeans and a baggy, well-worn sweatshirt, then swabbed at the mirror with a towel. As she pulled the brush through tangled copper, her eyes sought the mirror and ran unbidden over backwards letters that said UCLA Cross Country. She put the brush down. Her fingers traced the words as she recalled the ‘Orosco’ stretching out of sight between her shoulder blades.’This is how haunting really works,’ she thought. ‘No frightening phantom at the top of the stairs—just a hundred reminders woven so deeply and naturally into the fabric of a life that they remain part and parcel even when the threads are cut and the weaver is gone.’”

“Let’s hope we just saw the top of the food chain.”

“The truth is the only way to love somebody.”

“Love is giving somebody your naked self and letting them make their own decisions. Sometimes they hurt you and you keep on caring. Sometimes they hurt themselves.”

“Wanted to kill myself. Came close a few times. Only thing that stopped me was Ruth. I’d been awful to her, and maybe suicide would make it worse. Or maybe not. I argued back and forth, finally decided to flip a coin. Heads I jumped in front of traffic as soon as I walked out the hospital door, tails I signed up as a viking so they’d send me somewhere I’d have to stay straight. I figured either way I’d be dead, and I was rooting for heads all the way because it was quicker and easier. But it came up tails four times in a row.”

“It was the tone you might use with a dog, Rafa thought, when you had a gun and you warned it off your property—and you liked shooting things, so you didn’t really want the dog to hear you.”

“Choose to love her anyway. You are free to choose.”
—Rafa (to himself)

“I may die lonely, but none of my friends will.”

“Prostitution’s nothing more than two people lying to each other and one lying to himself. There’s no love in it anywhere.”

“He spread-eagled wearily on the bare rock to wait, his eyes closed against the nearly horizontal rays of sunshine. What a strange picture this would make. He imagined an old-fashioned postcard of himself, sunburned and haggard, stretched prone on the rock under a metallic crescent. ‘Wish you were here,’ the card would say across the top. What would Julie do with such a memento? Throw it away? Stick it in a musty old scrapbook somewhere? Would she come one distant day, when this planet was safely domesticated—impelled by morbid curiosity, perhaps—only to find his bones picked clean and open-armed to the pitiless heavens?”

“Good night, sweet prince.”
—Chen (quoting Horatio in Hamlet)

“A wave of anger swept through Rafa as he drew his knife. He’d battled despair in every thought, every emotion since his arrest. He’d told himself it couldn’t get any worse. But fortune seemed determined to prove him wrong. Well, this time his enemy was not faceless, impersonal injustice, not cold exile or harsh decree. It had blood and tissue and presumably a beating heart, somewhere under those bony plates—and he intended to get his pound of flesh before he was through. A scream tore from his throat and ripped the prairie.”

“On the road to the shuttleport it really hit home that I was helpless. It was sweet to nail the scumbags, and I wanted revenge so bad it was killing me, but there was no way I could afford tit-for-tat. I knew too many innocent people. And obviously somebody had escaped the roundup and was out to get me. My mom was all that was left family-wise, but Oberling had a whole quiver of little brothers and these wonderful, fat, freckled parents who’d fed me Thanksgiving dinner once. I couldn’t drag her in. And Mrs. Sandoval next door, who used to pinch my cheeks and try to set me up with her daughter and talk for hours about Havana—she was going to be lying in a burn unit for weeks.”

“Look, officers, you may think your questions are critical to this investigation, but I can tell you you’re totally wasting your time. Everything you’ve asked is based on the premise that my husband is a sinister man who might attack someone to cover his tracks. But he’s not like that at all. He’s a great husband and father. And he has no hidden life of crime to cover up. He doesn’t have any secret income. He’s not addicted to anything. He doesn’t even have any vices except a fondness for red meat and hot showers. I suppose you get the indignant wife speech all the time, but tonight it’s the gospel truth.”

“To tell you the truth, Mrs. Orosco, we do hear that sort of statement occasionally. And let me tell you, nobody hopes it’s true more than I do. Don’t blame us if we seem a little cynical, though. In our line of work we constantly get slapped in the face by the nastier side of human nature. After a while we start thinking that’s the way most people are.”
—Agent Ray Gregory

“There’s a reason why I’m in command, you know. It’s because I’m meaner and smarter and stronger and faster than the rest of you. If you ever begin to doubt that, I’ll be happy to set you straight. Or you can ask Bronx or Fatso or whatever his name is.”

“Julie speared a sausage onto her plate and stared glumly. For a moment the sight of it, lying brown and shriveled, all alone on the white porcelain, raised such visions of vapid mundanity that she had an urge to burst into laughter. ‘Rafa’s dead. Have a sausage.’”

“Death is a nurse mother with big arms: ‘Twon’t hurt you at all; it’s your time now; you just need a long sleep, child; what have you had anyhow better than sleep?’”
—Rafa (quoting Carl Sandburg)


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