"Hope Caldwell, being divorced and with those five little kids, plus a good figure, has been an oddball at Our Lady of Blessed Redemption from the start. She doesn't need any stories--about her wooden leg or anything else."
"New York to Toronto, ten hours, coach class, no smoking please. I half dragged, half lifted my suitcase over the metal slit between the compartment and the station. The door closed fifteen seconds later and the train began to inch forward. I was going to visit Slavic...."
"Riding shotgun in the front passenger seat was a position of honor in our social circle second only to driving the car."
"All I knew was, he was missing and when he didn't come home I figured he was dead or run off and I was free at last."
"As a kid, I was never fond of catfish. They were ugly, slimy, and always jabbed me a few times with their "stingers" before I could get them off the hook. I did not understand how any sane person could put the flesh of such an ugly creature in their mouth."
"I missed the bracelet the second I took off my right earring. I stood staring at my reflection in the dim mirror over my bureau, as if looking at myself would help me remember."
"He sits in the stiff folding chair and knows he is starting to fade, becoming transparent. His granddaughter is fussing over the sweet potatoes, pouring marshmallows over the top and talking about the great deal she got on celery at the grocery store. She introduced him to the crowd when they came in a few minutes earlier, but their names were lost beneath the football game, over the crying of a baby, and under a lifetime of Thanksgivings."
"Listen. This hospital, I'm telling you. One day the Hospital Commission's gonna come through here and shut it right down. It's like, I mean, these people, all they care about is the paper work gets done right."
"Agoraphobia. Mine is the distaste of seeing the reflection of myself through friends. So I have few friends. Very few friends."
"I set out for the bar, taking deep conscience-cleansing breaths before filling the stool beside him and revealing my Amex in one fluid movement, like an actress in a favorite role. As soon as I crossed my legs he started to jiggle the ice in his vodka."
"Robert looked at the boy and saw everything around them -- the ruffled sea, the hot blue sky, this very moment by the tide pool -- residing in the child's luminous, green eyes, eyes that were refracting light into memories...."
"Last Thursday I watched my best friend kill herself. Not in the literal sense, you understand. This was a metaphysical death, a sparrow that made a hell of a lot of noise before its neck was snapped."
"He saw the impact of his footfalls radiating down into the earth in concentric shells of force. He thought of earthworms listening in the darkness."
"Vitamins greet the guests; spoonfuls of tonics; mirrors that take years off their age. The house, sitting on a hill, overflows with wicker chairs and white gowns."
"And so it came about. Annie was deftly wrapped in Carole's silken coils, then gently delivered onto her magnificent borrowed redwood deck."
"That night I came home with a bite mark on my shoulder and thick bruises on both of my hips. In bed Alex kept saying, 'Do you love me Jade, do you love me?'"
"I had not heard from her for two weeks and so already knew that something had gone wrong when she called to tell me that she had a stalker."
"I haven't had a date in months. Tonight I'm finally going out with the buff Russian with bad teeth, Ivan. He spotted me at the gym this morning. In the middle of his sweaty, mad run on the treadmill he suddenly came to an abrupt stop and approached me."
"Chloe had a thing for unavailable men. For her, unavailable meant: the guy was a player, married, had a girlfriend, lived in another city, country, was gay, didn't like her enough to call but would go out if she'd call, would only see her once a month, had a drug or alcohol problem...."
"The letter from Black's sister contains three sentences: Black is very ill. She wants you to know.... Come if you will."
"(The army was a safe bet, with Korea over with, but I knew I'd screw on my bayonet wrong, didn't want to do that in public. Didn't learn till later you don't screw it, you click it. Same thing.)"
"You swear you're no communist, fascist, phalangist or anarchist; if you were, you've cast it behind you and come home. You swear you've not thought, dreamed, heard plots against us, against our city, our parish, our old brick square where this Library stands."
"Our parents called them "wayward youth," as if they've sort of drifted off the road. But you -- and they -- know they've been pushed."
"The wrinkles around Carlos's eyes and nose make him look wonderfully charming, but it also means I'm in trouble."