Quotations by Parker, Robert


Lots of real creeps have self-respect. They just have a creepy version of it.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
A Savage Place (1981)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Candy smiled at me a little. “Look,” she said. “You’re a good guy. I know you care about me, but you’re a while male, you can’t understand a minority situation. It’s not your fault.”

[…] When the beer came, I drank about a quarter of it and said to Candy, “Extend that logic, and we eventually have to decide that no one can understand anyone. Maybe the matter of understanding has been overrated. Maybe I don’t have to understand your situation to sympathize with it, to help you alter it, to be on your side. I’ve never experienced starvation either, but I’m opposed to it. When I encounter it, I try to alleviate it. I sympathize with its victims. The question of whether I understand it doesn’t arise.”

She shook her head. “That’s different,” she said.

“Maybe it isn’t. Maybe civilization is possible, if at all, only because people can care about conditions they haven’t experienced. Maybe you need understanding like a fish needs a bicycle.”

“You’re quite thoughtful,” she said, “for a man your size.”

“You’ve never been my size,” I said. “You wouldn’t understand.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
A Savage Place, ch. 12 (1981)
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As I left the building, classes were changing and the students were milling about in the halls. They seemed inconceivably young to me. Full of pretense, massively other oriented, ill formed, partial, angry, earnest, resentful, excited, frantic, depressed, hopeful, and scared.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Chance (1996)
Added on 17-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
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The thing about monsters is, you want to kill them until you meet them, and when you meet them they don’t seem monstrous, and killing them begins to seem unkind.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Crimson Joy (1988)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Apr-17
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Nature hates a vacuum. If there are no things which are important, then things are assigned importance arbitrarily and defended at great risk. Because the risk validates the importance.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Double Deuce (1992)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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If you’ll excuse the phrase, it’s the way life is. You don’t know what’s going to happen. People whose lives work best are the ones who recognize that and, having done what they can, are ready for what comes.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Early Autumn (1981)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Too much positive is either scared or stupid or both. Reality is uncertain.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Early Autumn (1981)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Mar-17
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Well, that’s my line of work. I go look at things and see what happens. If they were lying, maybe they will do some things because I went there today. Maybe they will make a mistake. The worst thing in any case is when nothing is happening. It’s like playing tennis: you just keep returning the ball until somebody makes a mistake. Then you see.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
God Save the Child (1974)
Added on 15-Feb-17 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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Then I went back to my hotel to think long thoughts. As is usual when I’m thinking long thoughts, I lay on the bed with my eyes closed. Susan says I often snore when thinking long thoughts.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Hugger Mugger, ch. 3 (2000)
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Added on 14-Jun-17 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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“You ever fuck Susan here?” she said, her face almost touching mine.

“I’m impressed,” I said. “The question is intrusive, annoying, coarse, and voyeuristic. That’s quite a lot to get into a simple question.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Hush Money (1999)
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Added on 25-May-17 | Last updated 25-May-17
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He took my seat and smiled again, like an affable crocodile. He was probably a very principled man, too. So were they all, all principled men. And women. There were few things more annoying than a visibly principled person. Or more troublesome. Most of the ones I’d met could have used a little uncertainty to dilute their principled-ness.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Hush Money (1999)
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Added on 31-May-17 | Last updated 31-May-17
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“John has warned me that you are a jokester. Well, I am not. If we are to have any kind of successful association, you’d best understand right now that I do not enjoy humor. Whether or not successful.”

“Okay if now and then I enjoy a wry, inward smile if struck by one of life’s vagaries?”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Looking for Rachel Wallace (1980)
Added on 22-Mar-17 | Last updated 22-Mar-17
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It had snowed in the night, and the world looked very clean, which I knew it not to be. But illusion is nice sometimes.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Painted Ladies, ch. 22 (2010)
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Added on 12-Jul-17 | Last updated 12-Jul-17
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“The truth will set you free,” Paul said. His voice was angry.
“Not necessarily,” I said. “But pretend sure as hell doesn’t do it.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Pastime (1991)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Everyone stood still, not knowing what to say. Except me. I knew what I should say, which was nothing. And I kept saying it.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Pastime (1991)
Added on 12-Apr-17 | Last updated 12-Apr-17
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Zealots were always hard. Zeal distorts them. Makes the normal impulses convolute. Makes people fearless and greedless and loveless and finally monstrous. I was against zeal. But being against it didn’t make it go away.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Promised Land (1974)
Added on 15-Mar-17 | Last updated 15-Mar-17
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“It’s not funny.”

“No, it isn’t, no more than everything else. Laughing is better than crying, though. When you can.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Promised Land (1976)
Added on 22-Feb-17 | Last updated 22-Feb-17
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“I truly don’t know her issues,” Weiss said. “But I’ve been in this line of work for a number of years, and my guesses are at least informed by experience.”

“Never a bad thing,” I said.

“Experience can inform,” he said. “It can also distort.”

“Sure,” I said. “But inexperience is rarely useful.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Rough Weather (2008)
Added on 21-Jun-17 | Last updated 21-Jun-17
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Most people I know, in fact, are a little afraid of flying. But you fly anyway because life’s too complicated if you don’t, and you don’t pay much attention, unless you’re phobic, to whether in fact you are afraid.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Small Vices (1997)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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I took a sip. It went surprisingly well with the veal. On the other hand, the fourth margarita goes surprisingly well with everything.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Taming A Sea-Horse (1986)
Added on 6-Apr-17 | Last updated 6-Apr-17
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I hadn’t smoked in ten or twelve years, but I wished then I’d had a cigarette that I could have taken a final drag on and flipped still burning into the river as I turned and walked away. Not smoking gains in the area of lung cancer, but it loses badly in the realm of dramatic gestures.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
The Judas Goat (1978)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Mar-17
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“The best moments in my life,” I said, “have come because I loved somebody.”

“Yeah,” he said.

“And the worst,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
The Professional, ch. 8 (2009)
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Added on 5-Jul-17 | Last updated 5-Jul-17
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The waiter returned with Ronni’s bourbon. She drank it while he explained about the specials. The explanation took a while and I wondered, as I always did when people recited a menu at me, what I was supposed to do while they did it. To just sit and nod wisely made me feel like a talk show host. To get up and go to the men’s room seemed rude. Once in Chicago I had tried taking notes in the margin of the menu, but they got mad at me.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
The Widening Gyre (1983)
Added on 29-Mar-17 | Last updated 29-Mar-17
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She smoothed her hair back from her forehead and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked like she always looked. It was probably a truth about tragedy, she thought, while the tragedy is going on people look pretty much the way they looked when it wasn’t.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Thin Air (1995)
Added on 3-May-17 | Last updated 3-May-17
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“What’s the play about?”
“Nobody seems to know.”
“What do the actors say it’s about?”
“They don’t know,” Susan said. She was as close to embarrassed as she gets.
“The actors don’t know what it’s about?”
“No.”
“How about the Director?”
“Lou says that a play is not required to be about anything.”
“And it runs how long?”
“Four and a half hours with an intermission.” Susan smiled encouragingly. “It’s very controversial,” she said.
“Excellent,” I said. “Maybe a fight will break out.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Walking Shadow (1994)
Added on 19-Apr-17 | Last updated 19-Apr-17
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