A New York Times Notable Book On the eve of his ninetieth birthday a bachelor decides to give himself a wild night of love with a virgin. As is his habit–he has purchased hundreds of women–he asks a madam for her assistance. The fourteen-year-old girl who is procured for him is enchanting,... read more
"I have never gone to bed with a woman I didn't pay, and the few who weren't in the profession I persuaded, by argument or force, to take money even if they threw it in the trash. When I was twenty, I began to keep a record listing name, age, place, and brief notation on the circumstance and... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
"I have never gone to bed with a woman I didn't pay, and the few who weren't in the profession I persuaded, by argument or force, to take money even if they threw it in the trash. When I was twenty, I began to keep a record listing name, age, place, and brief notation on the circumstance and style of lovemaking. By the time I was 50 there were 514 women with whom I had been at least once. I stopped making the list when my body no longer allowed me to have so many and I could keep track of them without paper. I had my own ethics. I never took part of orgies or public encounters, and I did not share secrets or recount an adventure of the body or the soul, because when I was young I realized that none goes unpunished.
“No old man forgets where he has hidden his treasure”
“The adolescents of my generation, greedy for life, forgot in body and soul about their hopes for the future until reality taught them that tomorrow was not what they had dreamed, and they discovered nostalgia.”
“Thanks to her I discovered my inner self for the first time as my ninetieth birthday went by. I discovered that my obsession for having each thing in the right place, each subject at the right time, each word in the right style, was not the well-deserved reward of an ordered mind but just the opposite: a complete system of pretense invented by me to hide the disorder of my nature. I discovered that I am not discplined out of virtue but as a reaction to my negligence, that I appear generous in order to conceal my meanness, that I pass myself off as prudent because I am evil-minded, that I am conciliatory in order not to succumb to my repressed rage, that I am punctual only to hide how little I care for other people's time. I learned, in short, that love is not a condition of the spirit but a sign of the zodiac.”
“I became aware that the invincible power that has moved the world is unrequited, not happy, love.”
“Make no mistake: peaceful madmen are ahead of the future.”
“Sex is the consolation you have when you can't have love.”
“I had always understood that dying of love was mere poetic license. That afternoon, back at home, without the cat and without her, I proved that it was not only possible but that I myself, an old man without anyone, was dying of love. But I also realized that the contrary was true as well: I would not have traded the delights of my suffering for anything in the world. I had spent more then fifteen years trying to translate the poems of Leopardi, and only on that afternoon did I have a profound sense of them: <i>if this is love, then how it torments.</i>”
“We already are old, she said with a sigh. What happens is that you don't feel it on the inside, but from the outside everyone can see it.”
“From then on I began to measure my life nopt by years but by decades. The decade of my fifties had been decisive because I came aware that almost everyone was younger than I. The decade of my sixties was the most intense because of the suspicion that I no longer had the time to make mistakes., My seventies were frightening because of a certain possibility that the decade might be the last. Still, when I woke alive on the first morning of my nineties in the happy bed of Delgadina , I was transfixed by the agreeable idea that life was not something that passes by like Heraclitus' ever changing river but a unique opportunity to turn over on the grill and keep broiling on the other side for ninety years.”
“No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you've already had.”
“I learned, in short, that love is not a condition of the spirit but a sign of the zodiac.”
“As I was reading The Ides of March, I ran across and ominous sentence that the author attributes to Julius Caesar: In the end, it is impossible not to become what others believe you are.”
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