French Writer and Novelist
"The illusion of art is to make one believe that great literature is very close to life, but the exact opposite is true. Life is amorphous, literature is formal."
"Art must take reality by surprise. It takes those moments which are for us merely a moment, plus a moment, plus another moment, and arbitrarily transforms them into a special series of moments held together by a major emotion. "
"After Proust, there are certain things that simply cannot be done again. He marks off for you the boundaries of your talent."
"A Strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sorrow. The idea of sorrow has always appealed to me but now I am almost ashamed of it's complete egoism. I have known boredom, regret, and occasionally remorse, but never sorrow. Today it envelops me like a silken web, enervating and soft, and sets me apart from everybody else."
"All my life, I will continue obstinately to write about love, solitude and passion among the kind of people I know. The rest don't interest me."
"Desire, even the basest, kind, required the notion of futurity if it was ever to come off. A man without a future, a dying man, was no longer desirable. And however stupid such a reaction might have seemed, Paul knew that if the situation was ever reversed, he would feel the same way about the woman. Desire would have turned into compassion. Which is tantamount to saying that desire would vanish into thin air."
"Could you love a woman you didn't respect? Could you worship someone without believeing in her? Could you be madly in love with a woman you didn't admire? Well, you could. Not only that, it might be better that way. Easier. It took Paul almost forty years to learn that carnal platitude. Nevertheless, he always took Sonia to dinners where, sooner or later, her stupidity would explode, with the result that brighter souls would inevitably pick up on it right away and cast a sympathetic, albeit ironical, look in his direction, which only excited him all the more."
"At the end of the second millennium the inhabitants of this planet called Earth, were so divided: half starved, half used three-quarters of its profits to seek means by which to destroy itself."
"Every little girl knows about love. It is only her capacity to suffer because of it that increases."
"Edouard was trying to understand, to find out what he could have done to lose Beatrice's favor. He couldn't know that his unpardonable sin was the fact that he was too deserving."
"For me writing is a question of finding a certain rhythm. I compare it to the rhythms of jazz. Much of the time life is a sort of rhythmic progression of three characters. If one tells oneself that life is like that, one feels it less arbitrary."
"Every time I see a film about Joan of Arc I'm convinced she'll get away with it. It's the only way to get through life."
"For this was the round of love: fear which leads on desire, tenderness and fury, and that brutal anguish which triumphantly follows pleasure."
"For what are we looking for if not to please? I do not know if the desire to attract others comes from a superabundance of vitality, possessiveness, or the hidden, unspoken need to be reassured."
"I can say everything to you. It's a wonderful feeling. I never could tell Francoise that I don't really love her, that our marriage isn't based on any hones ideal. It's founded on my weariness and boredom. Although those are solid enough bases. Plenty of lasting marriages are built on them, God knows. At least, they're always present."
"He refused categorically all ideas of fidelity or serious commitments. He explained that they were arbitrary and sterile. From anyone else such views would have shocked me, but I knew that in his case they did not exclude tenderness and devotion - feelings which came all the more easily to him since he was determined that they should be transient."
"Have i loved to the point of madness; that which is called madness, that which to me, is the only sensible way to love."
"He lifted me up and held me close against him, my head on his shoulder. At that moment I loved him. In the morning light he was as golden, as soft, as gentle as myself, and he would protect me."
"I did not find him absurd. I saw he was kind, that he was on the verge of real love. I thought it would be nice for me to be in love with him, too."
"I dreamt of being a writer once I started to read. I started to write 'Bonjour Tristesse' in bistros around the Sorbonne. I finished it, I sent it to editors. It was accepted."
"I don’t search for exactitude in portraying people. I try to give to imaginary people a kind of veracity. It would bore me to death to put into my novels the people I know. It seems to me that there are two kinds of trickery: the “fronts” people assume before one another’s eyes, and the “front” a writer puts on the face of reality."
"I have loved to the point of madness. That, which is called madness. That, which to me, is the only sensible way to love."
"I really have had enough, he thought, surprised himself by his own words, when I start to take care of the vocabulary of a woman, is that the end is near."
"I thought maybe it has to pretend to be interested in the profession of Luke - for such things almost never know. The people I would ask questions like love you or What are you reading? For their professions careless, and they were often paramount in their minds."
"I was thinking that I should be content to kiss him until the break of day. Bertrand ran out of kisses too soon; desire made them superfluous in his eyes. They were only a stage on the road to pleasure, not something inexhaustible and self-sufficient, as Luc had revealed them to me."
"I never make moral judgments. All I would say is that a person was droll, or gay, or, above all, a bore. Making judgments for or against my characters bores me enormously; it doesn’t interest me at all. The only morality for a novelist is the morality of his esthétique."
"It amused me to think that one can tell the truth when one is drunk and nobody will believe it."
"It seems to me that there are two kinds of trickery: the "fronts" people assume before one another's eyes, and the "front" a writer puts on the face of reality."
"I've tried very hard and I've never found any resemblance between the people I know and the people in my novels."
"Love lasts about seven years. That's how long it takes for the cells of the body to totally replace themselves."