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Shirley Hazzard

  • ... one doesn't really profit from experience; one merely learns to predict the next mistake.

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "The Party," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • She had a slow, deliberate way of walking — as if she had once been startled into precipitate action and had regretted it.

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "A Place in the Country," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • What you fear most will happen to you — that is the law.

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "A Place in the Country," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • There is balance in life, but not fairness.

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "A Place in the Country," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • In England, life is a long process of composing oneself ...

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "Vittorio," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • Marriage is like democracy — it doesn't really work, but it's all we've been able to come up with ...

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "In One's Own House," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • He was so cautious — anyone would think he had a thousand years to live and didn't need to invite experience.

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "The Picnic," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • That was the trouble with experience; it taught you that most people were capable of anything, so that loyalty was never quite on firm ground — or, rather, became a matter of pardoning offenses instead of denying their existence.

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "The Picnic," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • ... in her face poetry and reason met without the customary signs of struggle.

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • "The Worst Moment of the Day," Cliffs of Fall ()
  • ... Italians are never punctual; the café, the convenient place to wait, absolves them from that. There is no question of hanging about, no looking lost and unwanted or even disreputable, as there is in hotel lobbies or the foyers of restaurants. One just sits and enjoys the scene, and waits.

  • Charity, talent, love were real, perhaps, only to the sufferer and the beneficiary, and abstractions in the eyes of others.

  • Did you ever notice how easy it is to forgive a person any number of faults for one endearing characteristic, for a certain style, or some commitment to life — while someone with many good qualities is insupportable for a single defect if it happens to be a boring one?

  • Sometimes, surely, truth is closer to imagination — or to intelligence, to love — than to fact? To be accurate is not to be right.

  • ... the best thing for everyone concerned ... is what people always say when they have arranged something exclusively to suit themselves.

  • When people say of their tragedies, 'I don't often think of it now,' what they mean is it has entered permanently into their thoughts, and colors everything.

  • The tragedy is not that love doesn't last. The tragedy is the love that lasts.

  • Nothing creates such untruth in you as the wish to please.

  • She mistakes suspicion for insight.

  • Madness might sometimes give access to a kind of knowledge. But was not a guarantee.

  • For most people it's easier to support an eminent person in deserved disgrace than an obscure one who has been wronged.

  • ... in thoughts one keeps a reserve of hope, in spite of everything. You cannot say good-bye in imagination. That is something you can only do in actuality ...

  • It's a nervous work. The state that you need to write is the state that others are paying large sums to get rid of.

    • Shirley Hazzard,
    • in The New York Times ()
  • It is the impulse of our century, with its nearly religious belief in magnitude, to fling an institution into every void.

  • The United Nations emerged as a temple of official good intentions, a place where governments might — without abating their transgressions — go to church; a place made remote — by agreed untruth and procedural complexity, and by tedium itself — from the risk of intense public involvement.

  • Since the moment of the United Nations' inception, untold energies have been expended by governments not only toward the exclusion of persons of principle and distinction from the organization's leading positions, but toward the installation of men whose character and affiliations would as far as possible preclude any serious challenge to governmental sovereignty.

  • A poet or novelist will invent interruptions to avoid long consecutive days at the ordained page; and of these the most pernicious are other kinds of writing — articles, lectures, reviews, a wide correspondence.

    • Shirley Hazzard
  • I have a superstition that if I talk about plot, it's like letting sand out of a hole in the bottom of a bag.

    • Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard, Australian born English-U.S. writer


Full name: Shirley Hazzard Steegmuller.