“What does it feel like to have a girl?” said the man, chewing. Her father wiped his mouth with his napkin, tilted his head to one side and said smiling: “Sometimes it feels like I have a warm egg in my hand. Sometimes, nothing: total memory loss…Occasionally it feels like I have a girl of my own, really mine.”

– Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart


‘You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.

That day in Moscow, it will all come true,
when, for the last time, I take my leave,
And hasten to the heights that I have longed for,
Leaving my shadow still to be with you.’

– Anna Akhmatova, You Will Hear Thunder


‘There is a part of everything which is unexplored, because we are accustomed to using our eyes only in association with the memory of what people before us have thought of the thing we are looking at. Even the smallest thing has something in it which is unknown.’

– Flaubert quoted in How Fiction Works by James Wood