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" Alarm bells ring when a politician stands haughty upon his honour. "
" One of my agents once said I was one of the most dangerous men in London, and I was so excited by that. For a few days, I walked around Soho snarling. "
" The novels I planned to write were never going to be funny books about Jews. They were going to be country house books. Only later on could I write what I knew I was best at writing about. "
" Shakespeare's always been sitting on my back, since I began reading. And, certainly, as a writer, he's who I hear all the time. And he's almost indistinguishable now from the English language. I have no sense of what Shakespeare is like. I have no sense of the personality that is Shakespeare. I think, alone among writers, I don't know who he is. "
" You are changed by the people you are closest to, and this has allowed me to forgive myself for the person I once was. "
" No good writer ever merely cheered us up. But there's an unblinking stare into the darkness of things we have to go elsewhere to find. Jane Austen was made of strong stuff. She was too satiric for D. H. Lawrence's taste and too unforgiving for Kingsley Amis's, but you would still not call her hellish. "
" 'Family Guy'. It's not only the funniest programme on television, it's the most wonderfully, indecorously literate. "
" It's always nice to be praised, and insofar as a prize is a form of praise, you're glad when you get it. "
" When I was teaching at Cambridge, I sold handbags on the market. "
" Again and again, Primo Levi's work is described as indispensable, essential, necessary. None of those terms overstate the case, but they do prepare readers new to Levi for a forbiddingly educative experience, making him a writer unlike all others and the experience of reading him a chore. Which it isn't. "
" The queue and the fan are, of course, closely related in that fans will queue any length of time in any weather to see, touch, watch, hear, read, wear, or simply enjoy proximity to the object of their devotion. "
" The environment in which I studied was so safe, I thought I would die from the boredom of it. "
" If it's bathos you want - and I suspect we are all bathos junkies in the end - nothing gives it to you quite like watching sport. Unless it's playing sport. "
" Once in a while, we need the hard Left to pipe up. "
" Nothing is definite, nothing is finished, nothing is determined. "
" I normally take a long time finding titles. I finish the book and go into sweats for months afterwards trying to think of them. "
" If we doubt the power of literature and art to civilise, how come no one has ever been mugged by a person carrying a well-thumbed copy of 'Middlemarch' in his back pocket? "
" Where there are no spectators, there is no sponsorship. Where there is no sponsorship, there is no money. Where there is no money, there are no officials with fingers in the pot. The lesson to be learnt from this is simple. If we want honest sport, we have to stop watching it. "
" The presence of a Jew in any movement no more guarantees it to be innocent of antisemitism than guilty. And that applies to anti-Zionism, too. Anti-Zionist Jews exist, but that tells one nothing about anti-Zionism. "
" In anticipation of a meal - supposing we are with the ideal companion at the best table in the perfect restaurant - we might indeed postpone sadness. And maybe even halfway through, we will remain in tolerably high spirits, with dessert still to come. But as we near the end of eating, we begin to feel anticipatory twinges of anticlimax. "
" We shouldn't be too hard on vanity. It can be a mark of respect for the world. "
" Things go bad after a divorce and often stay that way. It is rare for the parties to return placidly to a time before they met. A bitterness lingers on. Those who call this our Independence Day, fantasising of returning to a never-never time before they married, when they were free, easy, single, and master of their fate, are delusional. "
" I've always liked older women. One sad thing about being my age is that there are no older women. I used to amuse my mother's friends even at five or six with witty turns of phrase. Somehow, I just knew how to be funny. "
" I should have conceived the idea for 'The Mighty Walzer' earlier. A boy who dreamed of winning fame, fortune, and the adoration of beautiful women as a table-tennis player - shame on me for taking so long to see the mock-heroic possibilities in that. "
" You fall in love differently when you are young and far from home in a seductive place. You fall in love with the very air you breathe, and the vivid colours and the unbearably sweet sensation of distance and unaccustomedness. "
" Economics is not a science; it is a quasi-religion: part superstition, part mystique, part sentimentality. Bankers dream like other men, the only difference being that when their dreams turn to nightmares, we all lose sleep. There can be no trusting the muttering of any prelate when it comes to money. "
" The obligation to remember is inscribed on every Holocaust memorial, but even the words 'Never Forget' become irksome eventually. "
" People keep saying you can't satirize Trump because he's beyond satire, but it's not difficult to just let him out and let him walk upon the stage and say his own words. "
" Do you want to be strangely various, or do you want to be purely yourself? Either way, revere no one. "
" One of the great things about us Jews is that we tell the best jokes. Part of the reason is we tell jokes against ourselves - before anyone else gets to do it. "
" The death of an Italian tailor might not be calamitous in Catania or Cagliari, but the loss to Soho is immeasurable. We don't have Italian tailors we can spare here. "