“It was my first lesson. Beneath the smooth, familiar face of things is another that waits to tear the world in two.” (p. 16)
“Come, I would say to them, it’s not that bad. You should appreciate a pig’s advantages. Mud-slick and swift, they are hard to catch. Low to the ground, they cannot easily be knocked over. They are not like dogs, they do not need your love. They can thrive anywhere, on anything, scraps and trash. They look witless and dull, which lulls their enemies, but they are clever. They will remember your face.
They never listened. The truth is, men make terrible pigs.” (p. 196)
“The women tried every trick they knew, rocking, walking, walking, swaddling his arms, a thumb wetted with wine to suck. The midwife said she had never seen such passion. Even my old nurse was covering her ears. My wife had gone gray, for she feared there was something wrong with him. Give him to me, I said. I held him up before me and looking into his screaming face. ‘Sweet son,’ I said, ‘you are right, this world is a wild and terrible place, and worth shouting at. But you are safe now, and all of us need to sleep. Will you let us have a little peace?’ And he calmed. Just went quiet in my hands. After that, you could not find an easier child.” (p.225)
“Odysseus’ favorite pose had been to pretend that he was a man like other men, but there were none like him, and now that he was dead, there were none at all. All heroes are fools, he liked to say. What he meant was, all heroes but me. So who could correct him when he erred? He had stood on the beach looking at Telegonus and believing him a pirate. He had stood in his hall and accused Telemachus of conspiracy. Two children he had had, and he had not seen either clearly. But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults.” (p. 311)