45986. “There was a sense in which she couldn’t quite believe in violence, as if it were, in her view, too stupid to be real. I knew—from Lambert only—that her own childhood had been full of violence, emotional and physical, but she rarely referred to it other than calling it “that nonsense,” or sometimes “those ridiculous people,” because when she ascended to the life of the mind everything that was not the life of the mind stopped existing for her.” ― Zadie Smith, Swing Time
45979. “What do we want from our mothers when we are children? Complete submission. Oh, it’s very nice and rational and respectable to say that a woman has every right to her life, to her ambitions, to her needs, and so on–it’s what I’ve always demanded myself–but as a child, no, the truth is it’s a war of attrition, rationality doesn’t come into it, not one bit, all you want from your mother is that she once and for all admit that she is your mother and only your mother, and that her battle with the rest of life is over. She has to lay down arms and come to you. And if she doesn’t do it, then it’s really a war, and it was a war between my mother and me. Only as an adult did I come to truly admire her–especially in the last, painful years of her life–for all that she had done to claw some space in this world for herself.” ― Zadie Smith, Swing Time
45977. “He was having an odd paternal rush, a blood surge that was also about blood and was presently hunting through Howard’s expansive intelligence to find words that would more effectively express something like don’t walk in front of cars take care and be good and don’t hurt or be hurt and don’t live in a way that makes you feel dead and don’t betray anybody or yourself and take care of what matters and please don’t and please remember and make sure” ― Zadie Smith, On Beauty
45961. “These days, it feels to me like you make a devil’s pact when you walk into this country. You hand over your passport at the check-in, you get stamped, you want to make a little money, get yourself started… but you mean to go back! Who would want to stay? Cold, wet, miserable; terrible food, dreadful newspapers – who would want to stay? In a place where you are never welcomed, only tolerated. Just tolerated. Like you are an animal finally house-trained.” ― Zadie Smith, White Teeth