‘Come to think of it, being with him always made me feel incredibly lonely. I don’t know why, but for some reason I’d always end up having these vaguely melancholy thoughts circling through my head – the kind of thoughts that you have when you’re gazing up at the moon, full of longing, watching as it sinks deeper and deeper into the blue depths of night, as it shimmers way off in the distance. The sort of thoughts that make you feel like you’ve been dyed completely blue, all the way to the tips of your toenails.’

– Banana Yoshimoto, Asleep

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‘We need the books that affect us like disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.’

– Franz Kafka

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‘Lying on a French nineteenth-century bed covered with pieces of Kashmiri shawls, in a borrowed apartment full of museum reproductions, worried about a woman who once thought she was being eaten by sharks and is now being eaten by a man.’

– Susanna Moore, The Whiteness of Bones

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‘To write is to pour one’s innermost self passionately upon the tempting paper, at such frantic speed that sometimes one’s hand struggles and rebels, overdriven by the impatient god who guides it – and to find, next day, in place of the golden bough that bloomed miraculously in that dazzling hour, a withered branch and a stunted flower.’

– Colette, Vagabond

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