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These Precious Days

“I was struck by how often the lessons we learn when we’re young, the things we could never imagine needing, make it possible to meet what life will ask of us later.”

French Braid

“That’s how families work, too. You think you’re free of them, but you’re never really free; the ripples are crimped in forever.”

The Family Chao

“But doesn’t every family have its own closed windows and closed doors?  Isn’t every family a walled fortress of stories unknown even to its neighbors? “

The Swimmers

“There is no ‘meaning’ or ‘higher purpose’ to your affliction. It is not a ‘gift’ or a ‘test’ or an opportunity for personal growth or transformation. It will not heal your angry, wounded soul or make you a kinder, more compassionate person who is less judgmental of others. It will not ennoble your paid carers (‘She’s a saint’) or enrich the lives of those around you who have always loved and adored you. It will just make them sad.”

Vladimir

“At one point we would have called these affairs consensual, for they were. … Now, however, young women have apparently lost all agency in romantic entanglements. Now my husband was abusing his power, never mind that power is the reason they desired him in the first place….”

The Maid

“It’s easier than you think- existing in plain sight while remaining largely invisible.  That’s what I’ve learned from being a maid.”

The Candy House

“Never trust a candy house!  It was only a matter of time before someone made them pay for what they thought they were getting for free. Why could nobody see this?”

The Remains of the Day

“It is my impression that our generation was the first to recognize something which had passed the notice of all earlier generations: namely that the great decisions of the world are not, in fact, arrived at simply in the public chambers, or else during a handful of days given over to an international conference under the full gaze of the public and press.  Rather, debates are conducted, and crucial decisions arrived at, in the privacy and calm of the great houses of this country.”

Tell Me Everything

“Perhaps by ghettoizing these men, isolating them, removing consequences, delivering regular blunt force trauma to their brains, and teaching them daily to hurt people, the university was molding an elite group of potential perpetrators for its own financial gain.”