Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quote of the Week

Was Fergus Urvill anywhere, still? Apart from the body - whatever was left of him physically, down there in that dark, cold pressure - was there anything else? Was his personality intact somehow, somewhere?

I found that I couldn't believe that it was. Neither was dad's, neither was Rory's, nor Aunt Fiona's, nor Darren Watt's. There was no such continuation; it just didn't work that way, and there should even be a sort of relief in the comprehension that it didn't. We continue in our children, and in our works and in the memories of others; we continue in our dust and ash. To want more was not just childish, but cowardly, and somehow constipatory, too. Death was change; it led to new chances, new vacancies, new niches and opportunities; it was not all loss.

The belief that we somehow moved on to something else - whether still recognisably ourselves, or quite thoroughly changed - might be a tribute to our evolutionary tenacity and our animal thirst for life, but not to our wisdom. That saw a value beyond itself; in intelligence, knowledge and wit as concepts - wherever and by whoever expressed - not just in its own personal manifestation of those qualities, and so could contemplate its own annihilation with equanimity, and suffer it with grace; it was only a sort of sad selfishness that demanded the continuation of the individual spirit in the vanity and frivolity of a heaven.

Iain Banks, The Crow Road
(Scribners, 1992)

6 comments:

DES said...

You gotta love a book that begins with “It was the day my grandmother exploded”... :)

Leisha Camden said...

I know ... !! :-D Did you know that they've made a TV series of this book? I'd love to see that, it's supposed to be really really good.

Paz said...

Great Quote, must read book
You might like this, got this text
Religion, giving people hope in a world torn apart by religion.

Leisha Camden said...

Yes, you should definitely read the book, I recommend it. It was a low-key story without the big drama but still an interesting plot, and great characterization.

lol, brilliant quote!! Sounds like something from Futurama ... !! :-D

DES said...

Never seen the series, but it's available on DVD. Banks has been quoted as saying it was “annoyingly better than the novel in so many ways”.

Another quote that stuck in my mind: “I thought you only did this to black people”, said by the protagonist after being pulled over while (legally) driving his uncle's Bentley.

Leisha Camden said...

A lot of good stuff in that book ... :-)