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Mary Cantwell

  • Mystery fiction is, after all, a substitute for tranquilizers, strong drink, and bad, if diverting, companions. One slips into bed ... onto the train ... into the chair in the sickroom ... and is suddenly transported to a place where light fights dark and wins. When the story's over, one is left without a hangover, without remorse. Can any other opiate make that claim?

    • Mary Cantwell
  • In giving our daughter life, her father and I had also given her death, something I hadn't realized until that new creature flailed her arms in what was now infinite space. We had given her disease and speeding cars and flying cornices: once out of the fortress that had been myself, she would never be safe again ... We disappoint our kids and they disappoint us, and sometimes they grow up into people we don't like very much. We go on loving, though what we love may be more memory than actuality. And until the day we die we fear the phone that rings in the middle of the night.

    • Mary Cantwell
  • ... Audrey ... strangled her every word. I thought it was a speech defect. It was, I found out later, something called Locust Valley Lockjaw ... I have heard it countless times since, and have always found behind it someone who called her mother 'Mummy' and grew up with good furniture.

  • ... the hymns were born in the fifteenth or sixteenth century or earlier, and listening to them was like licking an icicle: the same chill, the same purity.

  • Like most people, most Westerners anyway, I have a sneaking suspicion I am immortal.

  • To be involved with books is to live at the heart of light.

Mary Cantwell, U.S. writer, journalist

(1930 - 2000)