Beauty Will Save the World (1)

One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: ´┐ŻBeauty will save the world´┐Ż. What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloo...

Reality is More Powerful than Literature (2)

I used to think I could understand everything and express everything. Or almost everything. I remember when I was writing my book about the war in Afghanistan, Zinky Boys, I went to Afghanistan and t...
Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

Literature is Truer than Life (3)

"In a way, literature is truer than life," he said to himself. "On paper, you say exactly and completely what you feel. How easy it is to break things off on paper! You hate, you shout, you kill, you...
The Mandarins

Literary Indigestion (4)

Fashion and snobbery are also valuable as a defense against literary indigestion. Regardless of their quality, it is always better to read a few books carefully than skim through many, and, short of ...

To Write Is To Forget (5)

To write is to forget. Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. Music soothes, the visual arts exhilarates, the performing arts (such as acting and dance) entertain. Literature, however...
The Book of Disquiet



On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."