Notable Quotes
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Australian novelist (1943- )

Man is born free and is everywhere in chains.

PETER CAREY, Parrot and Olivier in America

People do not love those whose eyes show that they are somewhere else.


I had known loneliness before, and emptiness upon the moor, but I had never been a NOTHING, a nothing floating on a nothing, known by nothing, lonelier and colder than the space between the stars. It was more frightening than being dead.

PETER CAREY, Parrot and Olivier in America

The big question for me is, What sort of person would do that thing—not just because it suits a story or suits something symbolically, but who would really, really do that? When I continue to ask myself that question and I don’t take the easy answer, complicated characters are born.

PETER CAREY, The Paris Review, summer 2006

To know you will be lonely is not the same as being lonely.

PETER CAREY, Oscar and Lucinda

The world is merely a dream dreamt by god who is waking after a long sleep. When he is properly awake the world will disappear completely. When the world disappears we will disappear with it and be happy.

PETER CAREY, "Do You Love Me?", Collected Stories

She was a woman and I'd have more luck conjuring up the thoughts of a chinaman than I would figuring out what she was conspiring.

PETER CAREY, True History of the Kelly Gang

I can’t leave a chapter alone until I think it’s as good as I can make it at that time. Often I will reach a stage, say, a third of the way into the book, where I realize there’s something very wrong. Everything starts to feel shallow and false and unsatisfactory. At that stage I’ll go back to the beginning. I might have written only fifty pages, but it’s like a cantilever and the whole thing is getting very shaky because I haven’t thought things through properly. So I’ll start again and I’ll write all the way through and then just keep going until it starts to get shaky again, and then I’ll go back because I’ll know that there’s something really considerable, something deeply necessary waiting to be discovered or made. Often these are unbelievably big things. Sometimes they are things that readers will ultimately think the book is about.

PETER CAREY, The Paris Review, summer 2006

History is like a bloodstain that keeps on showing on the wall no matter how many new owners take possession, no matter how many times we paint over it.

PETER CAREY, attributed, Ghost Empire: How the French Almost Conquered North America

There is no good reason to read a review except vanity and insecurity. I never learned anything from a review. But one wants to be liked, of course.

PETER CAREY, The Paris Review, summer 2006

I have traveled widely. I have seen this country in its infancy. I tell you what it will become. The public squares will be occupied by an uneducated class who will not be able to quote a line of Shakespeare.

PETER CAREY, Parrot and Olivier in America


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