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The Twelfth Enchantment

image“…Lucy was tired of being manipulated and moved about like a game piece.  It was time to make her own decisions.  With hardly a thought of what it would mean, Lucy leapt up, hurled open the door of the coach, and threw herself onto the grass.”

  • The Twelfth Enchantment, by David Liss

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Goldenhand

image“Many Dead rose toward that sea of stars above.  Dead everywhere, but they were no threat.  They came through the Eighth Gate and waded for a little way, or hardly at all, but soon enough all were caught by the stars above, and were lifted up, to go beyond to the final death from which there was no return.”

  • from Goldenhand, by Garth Nix

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Red Winter & Dark Tempest

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-9-49-26-pm“Though Yumei had ignored all her requests for human necessities, he’d at least recognized she couldn’t go days without eating. Food kept turning up on his table— fresh, hot meals in glossy white boxes.”

  • Annette Marie, Dark Tempest (The Red Winter Trilogy Book 2)
  • Picture by Brittany Jackson, from Red Winter

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The Black Tulip

“When awake, he thought only of the great black tulip; when asleep, he dreamed of nothing else.”

– Alexandre Dumas, The Black Tulip

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The Paper Menagerie

image“For me, all fiction is about prizing the logic of metaphors—which is the logic of narratives in general—over reality, which is irreducibly random and senseless.”

– Preface to The Paper Menagerie, by Ken Liu

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The Complete Orsinia

image“For any act done consciously may be defiant, may be independent, may change life utterly.

But one can only act thus if one knows there is no safety… One must wait outside. There is no hiding away from storm, waste, injustice, death.  There is no stopping, only a pretense, a mean, stupid pretense of being safe and letting time and evil pass by outside.  But we are all outside, Piera thought, and all defenseless.  There is no safe house but death.”

– from Malafrena, by Ursula K. Le Guin

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The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly

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“She fantasized about sitting in a nest, on an egg, about venturing into the fields with the rooster, and about following the ducks around.  She sighed.  It was pointless to dream.  It would never happen to her.”

– from The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, by Sun-mi Hwang, translated by Chi-Young Kim

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Genesis

image“When God began to create heaven and earth, and the earth then was welter and waste and darkness over the deep and God’s breath hovering over the waters, God said, ‘Let there be light.’  And there was light.”

*welter and waste. The Hebrew thou wabohu occurs only here and in two later biblical texts that are clearly alluding to this one.  The second word of the pair looks like a nonce term coined to rhyme with the first and to reinforce it, an effect I have tried to approximate in English by alliteration.  Thou by itself means emptiness or futility, and in some contexts is associated with the trackless vacancy of the desert.

– Genesis 1:1, translated by Robert Alter, with commentary

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The Story of the Lost Child

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“Naples was the great European metropolis where faith in technology, in science, in economic development, in the kindness of nature, in history that leads of necessity to improvement, in democracy, was revealed, most clearly and far in advance, to be completely without foundation.  To be born in that city–I went so far as to write once, thinking not of myself but of Lila’s pessimism– is useful for only one thing: to have always known, almost instinctively, what today, with endless fine distinctions, everyone is beginning to claim: that the dream of unlimited progress is in reality a nightmare of savagery and death.”

  • The Story of the Lost Child, by Elena Ferrante, translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein

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