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Caroline Graham

  • It was not just that she couldn't cook, it was much, much more. There was between her and any fresh, frozen or tinned ingredient a sort of malign chemistry. They were born antagonists. He had observed her once making a tart. She didn't just weigh and handle materials, she squared up to them appearing to have some terrible foreknowledge that only an instant and combative readiness could bend them to her will. Her hand had closed over the shrinking pastry ball with a grip of iron.

  • She had large, rather beautiful hazel eyes which she blinked rapidly from time to time. This habit gave her a timorous yet slightly defiant demeanour: the sort of girl who made a career out of being insecure.

  • He saw a rather plump, middle-aged woman with a slab-like face, gooseberry-green eyes and dull brown hair done in a youthful style with a fronded fringe and hard tight little curls. Atop her long pale face, it looked foolish, like a wig on a horse.

  • The tiny room was brilliantly lit and crammed with provisions. Walnut and hazelnut and sesame oils. Olives, herbs, and pralines from Provence. Anchovies and provolone; truffles in little jars. Tins of clams and Szechuan peppercorns. Potato flour and many mustards. Prosciutto, water chestnuts, and a ham with a wrinkled, leathery skin the color of licorice hanging from the ceiling next to an odoriferous salami. Tiny Amaretti and snails. Tomato paste and marron paste, cured fish and lumpfish, gull's eggs and plover's eggs, and a chili sauce so hot it could blast the stones from a horse's hoof.

  • ... Avery ... gossiped as easily as he drew breath, and with almost the same urgent necessity.

  • Plastic tables and chairs were scattered about, and there were a couple of settees, which, imperfectly disguised, performed onstage as often as some of the actors and, it must be said, frequently with more conviction.

  • Poor old David, thought Nicholas, watching Salieri's valet sidling across the boards with that constipated cringe that afflicts people who loathe acting and are coaxed onto a stage.

  • He adored displays of temperament by his actors, fatuously believing them to be a sign of genuine talent.

  • If promises were piecrusts, dear, she'd be in crumbs up to her armpits.

  • 'Do you think then ... the gods will reward me by answering my prayers?' ... 'you're so naive. That's the way the gods punish us — by answering our prayers.'

  • ... there was no such thing as a small part, only small actors.

Caroline Graham, English playwright, screenwriter, novelist