Alas! When passion is both meek and wild! ~JOHN KEATS
Important Quotes & Sections From the Novel
PART 1
Chapter 1- "The main thing, though, was not the play itself but the company--the brave idea of it, the healthy, hopeful sound of it: the birth of a really good community theatre right here, among themselves. This was what had drawn them, enough of them to fill more than half the auditorium, and it was what held them hushed and tense in readiness for pleasure as the house lights dimmed." (page 7)

Chapter 2- "He closed the door and started toward her with the corners of his mouth stretched tight in a look that he hoped would be full of love and humor and compassion; what he planned to do was bend down and kiss her and say "Listen: you were wonderful." But an almost imperceptible recoil of her shoulders told him that she didn't want to be touched, which left him uncertain what to do with his hands, and that was when it occurred to him that "You were wonderful" might be exactly the wrong thing to say--condescending, or at the very least naive and sentimental, and much too serious." (page 15)

Chapter 3- "That was one of his earlies memories: the challenge to loosen one big fist, and his frantic two-handed efforts, never succeeding, to uncoil a single finger from its massively quivering grip, while his father's laughter rang from the kitchen walls. But it wasn't only their strength he envied, it was their sureness and sensitivity--when they held a thing, you could see how it felt--and the aura of mastery they imparted to everything Earl Wheeler used." (page 37)

Chapter 4- "And Frank would develope the theme. 'The point is it wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so typical. It isn't only the Donaldsons--it's the Cramers too, and the whaddyacallits, and Wingates, and a million others. It's all the idiots I ride with on the train every day. It's a disease. Nobody thinks of feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anyhting except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.'" (page 62)

Chapter 5- "As he moved up the aisle behind her hips he felt the promise of triumph in his expanding chest, and soon they were alone together in the labyrinth or the central fine, enveloped in her perfume as they fingered nervously through a drawer of folders." (page 93).

Chapter 6- "The curtains were drawn in the picture window. He saw that from the road before he'd reached the driveway; then, when he'd made the turn, he saw April come running from the kitchen door and stand waiting for him in the carport. She was wearing her black cocktail dress, ballet slippers, and a very small apron of crisp white gauze that he'd never seen before." (page 107)

Chapter 7- "But he knew better than to interrupt her now. She must have spent the morning in an agony of thought, pacing up and down the rooms of a dead-silent, dead-clean house and twisting her fingers at her waist until they ached; she must have spent the afternoon in a frenzy of action at the shopping center, lurching her car imperiously through mazes of NO LEFT TURN signs and angry traffic cops, racing in and out of stores to buy the birthday gifts and the roast of beeg and the cake and the cocktail apron." (page 117)