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" As a Jew, I believe that every argument has a counterargument. "
" 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. "
" Sensitivity doesn't necessarily make you easy to get on with. "
" It's a weakness of mine to forget what it is I've just been talking about so that when people make witty allusions to it, I stare at them open-mouthed, not knowing what they're talking about. "
" I've been married three times. I married the girl next door when I was 22, and I wasn't a good husband, but I wasn't a good anything then. Nowadays, I'm much kinder. "
" The terrorist isn't a problem because he doesn't conform; he's a problem because he does. It's what he conforms to that makes him dangerous. "
" Sometimes, a writer's life alone can tell a story. "
" Things happen in 'If This is a Man' that are beyond ordinary daily experience, but it is still us to whom they are happening, and the understanding Levi seeks is no different in kind from that sought by Shakespeare in 'King Lear', or Conrad in 'The Heart of Darkness'. "
" Certainly a curtain has never fallen too soon for me. Every play is too long, even the short ones. Every concert, every film, every television programme the same. "
" To assert that antisemitism is unlike other racisms is not to claim a privilege for it. Hating a Jew is no worse than hating anyone else. "
" We shouldn't be too hard on vanity. It can be a mark of respect for the world. "
" I wouldn't suppose for one moment that there's a single one of Trump's voters that would be anything but confirmed in their beliefs. "
" 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. "
" Literature is a house with many mansions. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" You don't remember people you love by the wise things they say but the silly things they do. "
" One should take writers' valuations of their own work with a pinch of salt: they are likely to rank them differently tomorrow. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" It's always nice to be praised, and insofar as a prize is a form of praise, you're glad when you get it. "
" This is now the way our culture prioritises. Look up 'Steppenwolf,' and you'll get the band before the novel. Look up Jesus Christ, and you'll get the musical. Look up Princess Link-a-din and you'll get LinkedIn, the business-oriented social network. "
" For me a Writing Day was an occasion for self-reproach and panic, a time to lament the passing of the years, stare out of windows and remember that even those famous late starters Joseph Conrad and George Eliot had started by the age I was now. "
" Box-set culture inclines to the hyperbolic. "
" A system of thought that accepts no inconsistencies is a frightful thing. "
" Looking back, I realise it wasn't only gym I dreaded at school. Every class was a torment. It wasn't knowledge I objected to but instruction. Why couldn't they just tell us what books to read and leave us to get on and read them? "
" 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. "
" Nostalgic myself, I am a sucker for other men's nostalgia. "
" I'm an old-fashioned English lit. man. Straight down the line - it's George Eliot, it's Dickens, it's Dr. Johnson, it's Jane Austen. "
" When I first went to Israel, I saw soldiers pushing Palestinians around and thought, 'I can't stand this'. Then I'd meet somebody in a bar saying what wonderful people the Palestinians are and what mamzers the Jews are, and I'd think, 'Hang on'. It should be hard to make up your mind on any serious subject. "
" The novel is a thing of irony and ambiguity. That's at the heart of 'J', a world that has stopped arguing with itself. We have to keep our equilibrium of hate, which is argument. But on the Internet, you find a unanimity of response, and in 'J,' there's a fear of that, that discourse becomes a statement of political or ideological belief. "