Best quotes from The Cuckoo's Calling

By J.K. Rowling, Robert Galbraith

56 Quotes    3.9 

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Sense entered into a short, violent skirmish with instinct and inclination, and was overwhelmed.

Who was more conscious than the soldier of capricious fortune, of the random roll of the dice?

How easy it was to capitalize on a person’s own bent for self-destruction; how simple to nudge them into non-being, then to stand back and shrug and agree that it had been the inevitable result of a chaotic, catastrophic life.

How could the death of someone you had never met affect you so?

He had never been able to understand the assumption of intimacy fans felt with those they had never met.

Humans often assumed symmetry and equality where none existed.

Couples tended to be of roughly equivalent personal attractiveness, though of course factors such as money often seemed to secure a partner of significantly better looks than oneself.

Robin was disposed to feel desperately sorry for anyone with a less fortunate love life than her own – if desperate pity could describe the exquisite pleasure she actually felt at the thought of her own comparative paradise.

Other people his age had houses and washing machines, cars and television sets, furniture and gardens and mountain bikes and lawnmowers: he had four boxes of crap, and a set of matchless memories.

Instinct was clawing at him like an importuning dog.

Strike was used to playing archaeologist among the ruins of people’s traumatised memories;

There’s people who’d expect you to take a bullet for them and they don’t bother rememb’ring yuh name.

In the inverted food chain of fame, it was the big beasts who were stalked and hunted

it was weird. Would you believe it if some supermodel called you up and told you she was your sister?’
Strike thought of his own bizarre family history.
‘Probably,’ he said.

In spite of her plainness that would have made wallflowers of other women, she radiated a great sense of self-importance.

Seven and a half million hearts were beating in close proximity in this heaving old city, and many, after all, would be aching far worse than his.

Ridiculous," he said breathlessly. "You ought to give up detecting and try fantasy writing.

She wuz depressed. Yeah, she wuz on stuff for it. Like me. Sometimes it jus' takes you over. It's an illness," she said, although she made the words sound like "it's uh nillness."
Nillness
, thought Strike, for a second distracted. He had slept badly.
Nillness
, that was where Lula Landry had gone, and where all of them, he and Rochelle included, were headed. Sometimes illness turned slowly to nillness, as was happening to Bristow's mother... sometimes nillness rose to meet you out of nowhere, like a concrete road slamming your skull apart.

The dead could only speak through the mouths of those left behind, and through the signs they left scattered behind them.

It's that wounded-poet crap, that soul-pain shit, that too-much-of-a-tortured-genius-to-wash bollocks. Brush your teeth, you little bastard. You're not fucking Byron.

It's an illness," she said, although she made the words sound like "it's uh nillness."
Nillness, thought Strike, for a second distracted. Sometimes illness turned slowly to nillness, as was happening to Bristow's mother... sometimes nillness rose to meet you out of nowhere, like a concrete road slamming your skull apart.

He had hoped to spot the flickering shadow of a murderer as he turned the file's pages, but instead it was the ghost of Lula herself who emerged, gazing up at him, as victims of violent crimes sometimes did, through the detritus of their interrupted lives.

Strike noticed that, in spite of Duffield's air of disorientation and distress, he had made a good job of applying his eyeliner.

She looked away from him, drawing hard on her Rothman’s; when her mouth puckered into hard little lines around the cigarette, it looked like a cat’s anus.

The country was lumbering towards election day. Strike turned in early on Sunday and watched the day's gaffes, counterclaims and promises being tabulated on his portable TV. There was an air of joylessness in every news report he watched. The national debt was so huge that it was diffcult to comprehend. Cuts were coming, whoever won; deep, painful cuts; and sometimes, with their weasel words, the party leaders reminded Strike of the surgeons who had told him cautiously that he might experience a degree of discomfort; they who would never personally feel the pain that was about to be inflicted.

Like other inveterate womanizers Strike had encountered, Duffield’s voice and mannerisms were slightly camp. Perhaps such men became feminized by prolonged immersion in women’s company, or perhaps it was a way of disarming their quarry.

But they had already tried, again and again and again, and always, when the first crashing wave of mutual longing subsided, the ugly wreck of the past lay revealed again, its shadow lying darkly over everything they tried to rebuild.

And then, at last, the frenzy wore itself into staleness, and even the journalist had nothing left to say, but that too much had been said already.

For this to happen today, of all days! It felt like a wink from God.

But the lies she told were woven into the fabric of her being, her life; so that to live with her and love her was to become slowly enmeshed by them, to wrestle her for the truth, to struggle to maintain foothold on reality.

The model? Whoa.' But Spanner's interest in human beings, even when dead or famous, was still secondary to his fondness for rare comics, technological innovation, and bands of which Strike had never heard.

He just saw her for what she was. She was no good. Some women,' she said, her chest heaving beneath the shapeless raincoat, 'aren't.

When you are young, and beautiful, you can be very cruel.

Suicides, in his experience, were perfectly capable of feigning an interest in a future they had no intention of inhabiting.

You're like everyone else, Strike; you want your civil liberties when you've told the missus you're at the office and you're at a lap-dancing club, but you want twenty-four-hour surveillance on your house when someone's trying to force your bathroom window open. Can't have it both ways.

Handsome in the manner of an Aryan prince, possessor of a trust fund, born to fulfill a preordained place in his family and the world; a man with all the confidence twelve generations of well-documented lineage can give.

Im.’ The monosyllable was heavy with contempt. ‘’E’s a twat.’
‘Is he?’
‘Yeah, ’e is. Ask Kieran.’
She gave the impression that she and Kieran stood together, sane, dispassionate observers of the idiots populating Lula’s world.

He knew more about the death of Lula Landry than he had ever meant or wanted to know; the same would be true of virtually any sentient being in Britain. Bombarded with the story, you grew interested against your will, and before you knew it, you were so well informed, so opinionated about the facts of the case, you would have been unfit to sit on a jury.

There were friends all over London who would welcome his eagerly to their homes, who would throw open their guest rooms and their fridges, eager to condole and to help. The price of all of those comfortable beds and home-cooked meals, however, would be to sit at kitchen tables, once the clean-pajamaed children were in bed, and relive the filthy final battle with Charlotte, submitting to the outraged sympathy and pity of his friends' girlfriends and wives. To this he preferred grim solitude, a Pot Noodle and a sleeping bag.

However, Strike knew that the truly deluded would happily discount such trivialities as DNA evidence, citing contamination, or conspiracy. They saw what they wanted to see, blind to inconvenient, implacable truth.

Hers was the kind of family that commissioned painters to immortalize its young: a background utterly alien to Strike, and one he had come to know like a dangerous foreign country.

Strike had never wanted children; it was one of the things on which he and Charlotte had always agreed, and it had been one of the reasons other relationships over the years had foundered. Lucy deplored his attitude, and the reasons he gave for it; she was always miffed when he stated life aims that differed from hers, as though he were attacking her decisions and choices.

Matthew kept hinting that Strike was somehow a fake. He seemed to feel that being a private detective was a far-fetched job, like astronaut or lion tamer; that real people did not do such things.

I am become a name.

She lay dying, wrapped in invisible robes of martyrdom, presenting her helplessness and passivity to him like adornments, and his dominant feeling was distaste.

You ought to give up detecting and try fantasy writing, Strike

Sixteen unseeing stone of disheveled male slammed into her; Robin was knocked off her feet and catapulted backwards, handbag flying, arms windmilling, towards the void beyond the lethal staircase.

Tonight, though, he could not help seeing his mother as a spiritual sister to the beautiful, needy and depressive girl who had broken apart on a frozen road, and to the plain, homeless outsider now lying in the chilly morgue. Leda, Lula and Rochelle had not been women like Lucy, or his Aunt Joan; they had not taken every reasonable precaution against violence or chance; they had not tethered themselves to life with mortgages and voluntary work, safe husbands and clean-faced dependants: their deathsm therefore, were not classed as "tragic", in the same way as those of staid and respectable housewives.
How easy it was to capitalise on a person's own bent for self-destruction; how simple to nudge them into non-being, then to stand back and shrug and agree tnat it had been the inevitable result of a chaotic, catastrophic life.

The dead could only speak through the mouths of those left behind, and through the signs they left scattered behind them. Strike had felt the living woman behind the words she had written to friends; he had heard her voice on a telephone held to his ear; but now, looking down on the last thing she had ever seen in her life, he felt strangely close to her.

Her round, mascara-streaked face looked back at him out of the rear window. He forced a grin and a wave before lighting another cigarette, and reflecting that Lucy's idea of sympathty compared unfavourably with some of the interrogation techniques they had used at Guantanamo.

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