Share beautiful passages of prose in your favorite fiction.

" I cannot get you close enough, I said to him, pitiful as a child, and never can and never will. We cannot get from anyone else the things we need to fill the endless terrible need, not to be dissolved, not so sink back into the sand, heat, broom, air, thinnest air. And so we revolve around each other and our dreams collide. It’s embarrassing that it should be so hard. Look out the window in any weather. We are a part of that glamour, drama, change and should not be ashamed."
**I Cannot Get You Close Enough ** by Ellen Gilchrist

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

“The leaves streamed down, trembling in the sun. They were not green; only a few, scattered through the torrent, stood out in single drops of green so bright and pure that it hurt the eyes; the rest were not a color, but a light, the substance of fire on metal, living sparks without edges. And it looked as if the forest were a spread of light boiling slowly to produce this color, this green rising in small bubbles, the condensed essence of spring. The trees met, bending over the road, and the spots of sun on the ground moved with the shifting of the branches, like a conscious caress. The young man hoped he would not have to die.

"Not if the earth could look like this, he thought. Not if he could hear the hope and the promise like a voice with leaves, tree trunks and rocks instead of words. But he knew that the earth looked like this only because he had seen no sign of men for hours; he was alone, riding his bicycle down a forgotten trail through the hills of Pennsylvania where he had never been before, where he could feel the fresh wonder of an untouched world.”

— Ayn Rand, *The Fountainhead

I was going to quote this:): I would have included the next bit.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly in school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita

I don’t know if it’s the most beautiful passage I know, but this one from The Last Unicorn is one of my favorites. In it, the Mayor sends his men to get the Unicorn, which they think is a white mare:

It says something to me about the transformative nature of beauty. Or something. :wink:

This is from memory.


Perhaps not the most beautiful passage, but, when I read it, certainly one that impressed me more than any other I could recall.

From, ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by James Joyce (setting: the priest admonishes young boys that they will suffer for all eternity in the fires of Hell should they ever ‘cause the saints to cry’ by masturbating):

Please click to read the paragraph (a bit long for me to type out with my one finger hacking and, alas, the source does not seem to permit copy and pasting of the text).

In honor of today…

"The true rain came in a monster wind, and the storm broke in blackness over the hills and the bloody valley; the sky opened along the ridge and the vast water thundered down, drowning the fires, flooding the red creeks, washing the rocks and the glass and the white bones of the dead, cleansing the earth and soaking it thick and rich with water and wet again with clean cold rainwater, driving the blood deep into the earth, to grow again with the roots toward Heaven.

It rained all that night. The next day was Saturday, the Fourth of July."

The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara

The final paragraphs of Angela Carter’s “Tiger’s Bride,” her retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The narrator has stripped and stands naked before the beast.

“But the real fierceness of desire, the real heat of a passion long continued and withering up the soul of a man, is the craving for identity with the woman that he loves. He desires to see with the same eyes, to touch with the same sense of touch, to hear with the same ears, to lose his identity, to be enveloped, to be supported. For, whatever may be said of the relation of the sexes, there is no man who loves a woman that does not desire to come to her for the renewal of his courage, for the cutting asunder of his difficulties. And that will be the mainspring of his desire for her. We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist.”

― Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

The opening line of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row:

“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.”

Skating at full speed, she turned to stop just before the dock, the silver blades of her skates sending up an abrupt shower of fresh-milled crystals that hung in the air and sparkled.

– Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale

*There was nothing to alarm him at first entry. Twigs crackled under his feet, logs tripped him, funguses on stumps resembled caricatures, and startled him for the moment by their likeness to something familiar and far away; but that was all fun, and exciting. It led him on, and he penetrated to where the light was less, and trees crouched nearer and nearer, and holes made ugly mouths at him on either side.

Everything was very still now. The dusk advanced on him steadily, rapidly, gathering in behind and before; and the light seemed to be draining away like flood-water.

Then the faces began.
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Graham
I find this as truly creepy as anything can be but the writing is beautiful!


“So we can believe the big ones?”


“They’re not the same at all!”


Terry Pratchett, “Hogfather”

I read The Wind in the Willows to my 3-year-old during bathtime. She loved it, but this whole sequence freaked her shit right out.

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

-For Whom the Bell Tolls

Absalom, Absalom!

Good stuff. Stephen King quoted that passage in 'Salem’s Lot.

Just for fun…

Qadgop the Mercoatan slithered flatly around the after-bulge of the tranship. One claw dug into the meters-thick armour of pure neutronium, then another. Its terrible xmex-like snout locked on. Its zymolosely polydactile tongue crunched out, crashed down, rasped across. Slurp! Slurp! At each abrasive stroke the groove in the tranship’s plating deepened and Qadgop leered more fiercely. Fools! Did they think that the airlessness of absolute space, the heatlessness of absolute zero, the yieldlessness of absolute neutronium, could stop QADGOP THE MERCOTAN? And the stowaway, that human wench Cynthia, cowering in helpless terror just beyond this thin and fragile wall…