Rupert Thomson Quotes
“Jed thought he understood. It was like when his radios were thrown away. You could shrug your shoulders, put on a face that said you didn't care, but you did and nothing could ever be secure again. The next time security appeared as a possibility, you smashed it yourself. And went on smashing it. That, he was sure, was how Creed felt.”
“It was six hours to Hosannah Beach and he didn't glance at the silver coin that Dad had given him, not even once. All the way he clutched it tight in the palm of his hand and fel the bevelled edge bite into his skin. [...] Waiting in the car while Yvonne unlocked the house, he brought his hand up to his face and opened it. His sweat had the bitter smell of hot metal, hot and bitter, this was what leaving home would always smell like.”
“Sometimes it seemed as if he'd always been very old. People said that time lasted for ever when you were young. That was lies. Lies and rosy spectacles. His spectacles were steel frames and time was those tattoos on Vasco's arm. They were more like time than anything else. Once, in the Empire of Junk, he'd seen an hour-glass. Now that came closest to the truth. Except you could turn it upside down and start again. So that was lies too. The sand should run out the first time, run right out. Once, and once only. Time wasn't outside you, it was inside. [...] Time was something that went bad, like fruit. To be used before it was all used up. Though, for most people, the only way to live was to deny that.”
“He thought of his old tapes, the ones he'd had for years, the ones he'd used over and over again. Their silence was always different to the silence of a new tape: it was loaded, prickly with things recorded and erased; a silence that was like ghosts. That house was an old tape masquerading as a new one. It had recorded and erased, but it was pretending it had just come out of the cellophane. It had ghosts, but it wasn't owning up to them.”
“He woke early the next morning. It was still cool, but he opened the window and, leaning on the ledge, looked down at the river. A ship slid by. Then another. Years later, in exile, he would watch the railway tracks from his hotel and it would sink a well in him, and he would taste the same calm water.”
“Il Museo delle Lacrime significava molto di più di quanto il suo nome potesse suggerire. Non si trattava solo di file di bottigliette di vetro identiche, malgrado già questo, se ci pensavi bene, diceva molto sull'uguaglianza. Si trattava di persone che tastavano di aggrapparsi alla felicità che avevano conosciuto.”
“She was someone who heard each grain in the hour-glass, she felt the passing seconds like sandpaper against her softest skin. Time actually seemed to hurt her, and people helped her get through it. [..] Sometimes it seemed to Nathan that her life was just that, a feat of held breath, just another ten seconds, just another five, and then death would flood her lungs like water, a string of glass bubbles to the surface and then nothing. She was scared in a way that he could understand. The kind of fear that sends you running across a six-lane highway or jumping into rapids. She was someone who ran towards her fear, screaming. Who tried to frighten it. Who, in another period of history, would have been worshipped as a saint or burned as a witch.”
“Vasco bought a bottle of vodka to celebrate and they drank it in the old sailors' graveyard in Mangrove South. This was where the funeral business had first put down its roots. Over the wall, between two warehouses, Jed could just make out the Witch's Fingers, four long talons of sand that lay in the mouth of the river. Rumour had it that, on stormy nights a century ago, they used to reach out, gouge holes in passing ships, and drag them down. Hundreds of wrecks lay buried in that glistening silt. The city's black heart had beaten strongly even then. There was one funeral director, supposedly, who used to put lamps out on the Fingers and lure ships to their doom.”
“Vasco lived in Mangrove Heights, on a bluff overlooking the river. The first time Jed saw the house, he couldn't help thinking of the Empire of Junk. Towers jostled with gables, beams with columns. Gargoyles leered from the eaves, tongues sharp as the heads of arrows, eyes like shelled eggs. The front garden had been planted with all kinds of trees, so the house seemed to skulk. The path to the front door crackled with dead leaves. He could smell plaster, the inside of birds' nests, river sewage.
'I should have been born in a place like this,' Jed said, but Vasco was opening the door and didn't hear.”
“While still practising law, he'd run a hearse-rental agency. Then, later, he'd bought into a handkerchief factory in Baker Park. Their most famous innovation was the funeral hankerchief, a plain white cotton handkerchief with a black border. Not long afterwards he patented the first black-edged tissue. He'd made millions, apparently, though nobody knew what he'd done with the money. His only extravagance had been to install an elevator in the house, so he could move between floors without getting out of his wheelchair.
'So what did he mean about hearing money?' Jed asked.
'It's his factory across the river. He claims he can hear the money being made.”
“You must tell me about it when you do,' she said. 'When you make love for the first time, I mean. I want to know what you think.'
He glanced away from her, out of the window. An ice-cream parlour, a man with a dog, a tree. How was he going to get out of shopping next week?
'It's so wonderful, it's like,' and she left her mouth open while she thought, and then it came to her, and she smiled, 'it's like colours everywhere.”