Our final moments in this life aren’t generally an appropriate time for clear-eyed reflection; indeed, they always find us at our most sentimental.
A silent funeral is a funeral stripped of all its awe, Bolbol thought. Rites and rituals meant nothing now. For the first time, everyone was truly equal in death.
[…]it allowed him to subscribe to the view that anyone who gave him a hard time would probably be dead today or tomorrow, or by next month at the latest. Not that it was a particularly pleasant notion, but it was an accurate one, and each citizen had to live under the shadow of this understanding. The inhabitants of the city regarded everyone they saw as not so much “alive” as “pre-dead”. It gave them a little relief from their frustration and anger.
The exceptional has become habitual, and tragedies were simply mundane – perhaps that was the worst part of this war.
The agent couldn’t seem to make up his mind from one sentence to the next as to whether the state regarded a person as being merely a collection of documents or rather an entity of flesh, blood, and soul.
[…] no one lamented a death that didn’t have an outrage attached to it.
Going outside was hard work.
Abdel Latif wanted to leave his final story in Bolbol’s hands – not only his final wish.
Everything had changed in the small town, and what had been normality a few months earlier now became unimaginable.
They realized that despair meant drowning in the abyss, so kept faith with the confidence that was the only possession they had left.
After losing their compassion, a person becomes little more than another corpse abandoned by the roadside, one that should really be buried. She knew that she was already just such a body, but she still needed to die before she could find peace under the earth. And for her, dying was the hardest work of all.
It is hard to discover that your self is nothing but a delusion. You consider yourself aloof from the oppression and power of the masses, but in the end you realize any individuality you may have perceived is a lie and that you’re just one more worn-out pair of shoes walking the streets.
Bolbo reflected that when the walls of fear around you rumble, there’s only a stage emptiness inside. Nothing can fill it but a new type of fear, perhaps. You don’t know what to call it, but it’s still fear, no different in flavor, really, than the old type. It makes you feel you’re the only one afraid in a tide of humanity that regards dying as the ultimate solution to the enigma of living. And it was true, mass murder or suicide could be a kind of solution. Bolbol supposed. He often imagined whole communities committing suicide in protest against life so soiled.
My review of Death is Hard Work