The first half is far superior to the second—that is to say the payoff doesn’t quite vindicate the setup—but this is still the kind of book I will one day write.
“That was the way with facts. They punctured every bubble of conceit, shattered theories, destroyed convictions.”
“He remained the same: without belief in himself or in the human race; a fatalistic hedonist who lived in presuicidal gloom. Religions lied. Philosophy was bankrupt from the beginning. The idle promises of progress were no more than a spit in the face of the martyrs of all generations.”
“Yadwiga’s sheer goodness bored him; when he talked to her, it was as if he were alone. Masha was so complicated, stubborn, and neurotic that he couldn’t tell her the truth either.”
“She seemed to Herman to be the incarnation of the masses, always following some leader, hypnotized by slogans, never really having an opinion of her own.”
“She was flirting with the man and all the wrinkles in here rouged face smiled imploringly, with the humility of those who can no longer demand but only beg.”
“Masha was the best argument Herman knew for Schopenhauer’s thesis that intelligence is nothing more than a servant of blind will.”