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Reading progress update: I've read 283 out of 917 pages.

Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy - Rachel Cusk, Olivia Manning

I've finished The Great Fortune, the first of the three books that make up this trilogy. 


‘Such a war! An unexploded squib of a war! What folly ever to start it. The great nations think only of power. They do not think of the ones who suffer for such a war.’


War has well-and-truly broken out, and Paris has been taken by the Nazis. I'm not ready to write a full review, so I'm just going to toss down some quotes and take a break for a week or two.


* * *


‘All these religious concepts,’ said Guy, ‘are only a means of keeping the poor poor; and the rich rich. Pie in the sky. Accept the condition it has pleased God to put you in. I am not interested in eternity. Our responsibilities are here and now.’


* * *


The day they were invited to luncheon with the Druckers was one of the last warm days of October. Harriet had arranged to meet Guy in the English Bar, but when she looked for him in the bar, he had not arrived. This did not surprise her, for she was beginning to realise that however late she might be for an appointment Guy could always be later.


* * *

Harriet said: ‘I sometimes think I shall end up a lonely, ragged, mad old woman trailing along the gutter.’
‘Why should you?’ Clarence tartly asked. ‘You’ve got Guy. I suppose you’ll always have Guy.’ ‘And he’ll always have the rest of the world.’


* * *


If one could not be a great writer – a Tolstoy, a Flaubert, a Stendhal – what was the point in being a writer at all? Disconcerted, Harriet said lamely: ‘If everyone felt like that, there wouldn’t be much to read.’ ‘What is there to read, anyway? Rubbish, most of it. Myself, I read nothing but detective novels.’ ‘I suppose you do read Tolstoy and Flaubert?’ ‘I did once. Years ago.’ ‘You could read them again.’