↳ The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
“A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.”
Allegorical Portrait of an Artist in Her Studio, Detail.
Michiel van Musscher, circa 1675-85
Kate Baylay’s illustrations for The Olive Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang
Like the wild beasts, she lives without a future. She inhabits only the present tense, a fugue of the continuous, a world of sensual immediacy as without hope as it is without despair.
His touch both consoles and devastates me; I feel my heart pulse, then wither, naked as a stone on the roaring mattress while the lovely, moony night slides through the window to dapple the flanks of this innocent who makes cages to keep the sweet birds in. Eat me, drink me; thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden, I go back and back to him to have his fingers strip the tattered skin away and clothe me in his dress of water, this garment that drenches me, its slithering odour, its capacity for drowning.
Person: You should try dressing normal for once
Oh honey, that’s just how old houses are. They settle. They sometimes creak or groan, or quietly weep, or demand blood sacrifice in voices that sounds like the fluttering wings of a thousand moths. It’s just the house settling. For whatever it can get. Go back to sleep.
Baroque Hall of the Library, 1758-67. Abbey of St. Gall, Switzerland. Under the auspices of Prince-Abbot Cölestin Gugger von Staudach, decorated and fitted by master craftsmen from the Region of Lake Bodensee. ©Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen