The taste one gets of death in dreams I find more penetrating and atmospheric than the ordinary fear one might suffer while awake.
Paradox is beloved of novelists. The despised savior, the humane whore, the selfish man suddenly munificent, the wise fool, and the cowardly hero. Most writers spend their lives writing about unexpected malice in the supposedly virtuous, and unexpected virtue in the supposedly sinful.
But then what is the alternative to trying to tell the truth about the Holocaust, the Famine, the Armenian genocide, the injustice of dispossession in the Americas and Australia? That everyone should be reduced to silence? To pretend that the Holocaust was the work merely of a well-armed minority who didn’t do as much harm as is claimed-and likewise, to argue that the Irish Famine was either an inevitability or the fault of the Irish-is to say that both were mere unreliable rumors, and not the great motors of history they so obviously proved to be. It suited me to think so at the time, but still I believe it to be true, that if there are going to be areas of history which are off-bounds, then in principle we are reduced to fudging, to cosmetic narrative.
Personal finances are like people’s personal health, crucial and tragic to the sufferer but tedious to the listener.
High Europe always played at ethnic contempt because it was High Europe, and so had the strength, the authority, to make the racial rules. We great unwashed of the outer world, on the coasts of new continents, though we might ourselves have behaved atrociously to indigenes, were baffled by the determination with which Europe returned to the frenzies of racial myth. Nice boys and not-so-nice boys took up the theme, put on the uniform, did the dirty work.