Using someone's name during a conversation was like a casual caress, like stroking their hair.

— Harry Mulisch

The most proven Harry Mulisch quotes to get the best of your day

A man who has never been hungry may possess a more refined palate, but he has no idea what it means to eat.

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I'm afraid love is just a word.

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All cows were like other cows, all tigers like all other tigers - What on earth happened to human beings?

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That question is too good to spoil with an answer.

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I never understood how anyone could feel small compared with the universe.

After all, man knows how overwhelmingly large it is, and a few others things besides, and that means he is not small. The fact that man has discovered all this precisely proves his greatness.

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Perhaps, he thought, true pure love, like all flowers, flourished best with its roots in muck and mud. Perhaps that was a law of life that held everything together.

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In a world full of war, famine, oppression, deceit, monotony, what—apart from the eternal innocence of animals—offers an image of hope? A mother with a newborn child in her arms? The child may end up as a murderer or a murder victim, so that the hopeful image is a prefiguration of a pietà: a mother with her newly dead child on her lap.

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If written in the three-letter words of the four-letter alphabet,a human being is determined by a genetic narrative long enough to fill the equivalent of 500 Bibles.In the meantime human beings have discovered this for themselves. That's right. They have uncovered our profoundest concept -- namely, that life is ultimately reading. They themselves are the Book of Books.

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All human beings were of course unique, and they only discovered that when someone else fell in love with them or when no one ever fell in love with them.

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But nothing exists in the future; it is empty; one might die at any minute.

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If you find life absurd, shouldn’t you find death precisely meaningful?

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