Graham Greene


English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright

Author Quotes

To all pimps and whores a merry syphilis and a happy gonorrhea.

What happens if you drop all the things that make you I?

Why did [God] give us genitals then if he wanted us to think clearly?

You needn't be so scared. Love doesn't end. Just because we don't see each other...

So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one's days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance conversations, but the stream of the unconscious continues to flow undisturbed, solving problems, planning ahead: one sits down sterile and dispirited at the desk, and suddenly the words come as though from the air: the situations that seemed blocked in a hopeless impasse move forward: the work has been done while one slept or shopped or talked with friends.

That was the difference he had always known, between his faith and theirs, the political leaders of the people who cared only for things like the state, the republic: this child was more important than a whole continent.

The more unstable life is the less one likes the small details to alter.

The world was in her heart already, like the small spot of decay in a fruit.

They are always saying God loves us. If that's love I'd rather have a bit of kindness.

To be in love is to see yourself as someone else sees you, it is to be in love with the falsified and exalted image of yourself. In love we are incapable of honor — the courageous act is no more than playing a part to an audience of two.

What have we all got to expect that we allow ourselves to be so lined with disappointment?

Why doesn't hatred kill desire? I would have given anything to sleep. I would have behaved like a schoolboy if I had believed in the possibility of a substitute. But there was a time when I had tried to find a substitute, and it hadn't worked.

You think it more difficult to turn air into wine than to turn wine into blood?

Sentimentality -- that's what we call the sentiment we don't share.

So much of a novelist’s writing, as I have said, takes place in the unconscious: in those depths the last word is written before the first word appears on the paper. We remember details of our story, we do not invent them.

That was the worst period of all: it is my profession to imagine, to think in images: fifty times through the day, and immediately I woke during the night, a curtain would rise and the play would begin: always the same play, Sarah making love, Sarah with X, doing the same things that we had done together, Sarah kissing in her own particular way, arching herself in the act of sex and uttering that cry like pain, Sarah in abandonment. I would take pills at night to make me sleep quickly, but I never found any pills that would keep me asleep till daylight.

The next best thing to talking to her is talking about her.

Then I allowed himself to strike, like his childhood hero Allan Quatermain, off on that long slow Which underground stream bore him on Toward the interior of the dark continent where I Hoped That He Might find a permanent home, in a city where I Could be accepted as a citizen, as a citizen without any pledge of faith, not the City of God or Marx, but the city called Peace of Mind.

They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people. Remove those few and a city exists no longer except as a pain in the memory, like a pain of an amputated leg no longer there.

To me comfort is like the wrong memory at the wrong place or time: if one is lonely one prefers discomfort.

What is cowardice in the young is wisdom in the old, but all the same one can be ashamed of wisdom.

Why, after all, should we expect God to punish the innocent with more life?

You try to draw everything into the net of your faith, father, but you can't steal all the virtues... I expect the cavemen wept to see another's tears.

She came out of the crematorium, and there from the twin towers above her head fumed the very last of Fred, a thin stream of grey smoke from the ovens. Fred dropped indistinguishable grey ash on the pink blossoms: he became part of the smoke nuisance over London, and Ida wept. [After Hale's cremation]

So much of life [is] a putting-off of unhappiness for another time. Nothing [is] ever lost by delay.

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English Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright