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Beyond the Lone Islands

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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Quotation of the Week (53/09)

Truth is not spoken in anger. Truth is spoken, if it ever comes to be spoken, in love. The gaze of love is not deluded. Love sees what is best in the beloved, even when what is best in the beloved finds it hard to emerge into the light.


J.M. Coetzee, Slow Man

* Read my book review of Slow Man here. *

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2 comments:

GB said...

I'm really not sure that I agree with this statement. Truth is. Whether it is spoken in love or in anger or in the neutral territory of everyday life whether a statement is true or not is independent of the emotions behind it.

Or am I missing something here?

DawnTreader said...

I suppose every quote really, standing on its own, more or less misses the context it came from! The words in this quote are put in the mouth (or thoughts) of the main character in the book, Paul Rayment.

One of the purposes (I think) of Coetzee's book Slow Man is to keep turning and twisting the reader's perspective, to see the relationships in the story from different angles.

The moment before these thoughts go through Paul's mind, he has been in an argument with Elizabeth Costello, who has been calling him 'a cold man'.

There are many kinds of truth, and not all truths are of the "fact" kind that can stand on their own legs apart from emotion.

What is worth holding on to? Harsh words spoken hastily in anger (how often do we not regret those) or the glimpses of "the best" that we see when we look upon someone with love?

The last part of the quote to me is the most important: "Love sees what is best in the beloved, even when what is best in the beloved finds it hard to emerge into the light."

Love's aim is not to find what is there to find fault with, but to find what is there to love.

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