Pilgrimpace's Blog

the question is the better part
October 10, 2014, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

I’m enjoying reading Andrew O’Hagan’s Be Near Me.  It is an excellent novel, dealing with hard things, enhancing life, wonderfully written.  Here’s a very slightly adapted extract:

“‘Sir,’ I want to ask you.  What is more important to the world, ethics or taste?’

‘What a grand question, Anderton. Have you been hovering under the clock-tower staircase again, in the library? I mean, are you devoting your afternoons to the French novel?’

‘It came up the other day.’

‘Yes indeed,’ he said. ‘It will come up every day. Well, I think you ask the question because you know the answer.’

‘Ethics,’ I said.

‘Good boy for saying so, but that is not what you think.  That is what you fear.’

‘It is what I believe.’

‘Very good.  You will go far. And yet, I am not asking what you believe but what you feel.’ I knew in that moment there was something fine and wasted in Brother Joseph. The hills were dark and ignorant against the sky. ‘Young Anderton,’ he said, ‘don’t worry about the answer. The question is the better part. You have your own answer.'”


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