Briony Tallis quotes

What do you think it would feel like to be someone else?

If you write a story, you only have to say the word 'castle' and you can see the towers and the woods and the village below... But in a play it's... it all depends on other people.

Love is all very well, but you have to be sensible.

[in a letter] Dear Cecilia, Please don't throw this away without reading it. As you'll have seen from the notepaper, I'm here at St. Thomas's, doing my nurses' training. I decided not to take up my place at Cambridge. I decided I wanted to make myself useful, do something practical. But no matter how hard I work, no matter how long the hours, I can't escape from what I did and what it meant, the full extent of which I'm only now beginning to grasp. Cee, please write and tell me we can meet. Your sister, Briony.

I am very, very sorry for the terrible distress that I have caused you. I am very, very sorry...

[writing] The princess was well aware of his remorseless wickedness. But that made it no easier to overcome the voluminous love she felt in her heart for Sir Romulus. The princess knew instinctively that the one with red hair was not to be trusted. As his young ward dived again and again into the depths of the lake, in search of the enchanted chalice, Sir Romulus twirled his luxuriant mustache. Sir Romulus rode with his two companions, northwards, drawing ever closer to an effulgent sea. So heroic in manner, he appeared so valiant in word... And no could ever guess at the darkness lurking in the black heart of Sir Romulus Turnbull. He was the most dangerous man in the world.

My doctor tells me I have something called vascular dementia; which is essentially a continuous series of tiny strokes. Your brain gradually closes down. You lose words, you lose your memory: which, for a writer, is pretty much the point. That's why I could finally write this book; and why, of course, it's my last novel. Strangely enough, it would be just as accurate to call it my first novel. I wrote several drafts as far back as my time at St. Thomas's Hospital during the war. I just couldn't ever find the way to do it.

[Last lines] I never made that journey to Balham. So the scene in which I confess to them is invented, imagined. And, in fact, could never have happened... .because Robbie Turner died of septicaemia at Bray Dunes on the first of June 1940, the last day of the evacuation...and I was never able to put things right with my sister Cecilia....because she was killed on the 15th of October, 1940 by the bomb that destroyed the gas and water mains above Balham tube station. So, my sister and Robbie were never able to have the time together they both so longed for... and deserved. Which ever since I've... ever since I've always felt I prevented. But what sense of hope or satisfaction could a reader derive from an ending like that? So in the book, I wanted to give Robbie and Cecilia what they lost out on in life. I'd like to think this isn't weakness or... evasion... but a final act of kindness. I gave them their happiness.

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