Adrian Finn Quotes in The Sense of an Ending
“That’s one of the central problems of history, isn’t it, sir? The question of subjective versus objective interpretation, the fact that we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of us?”
“History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.”
“I hate the way the English have of not being serious about being serious. I really hate it.”
I did, eventually, find myself thinking straight. That’s to say, understanding Adrian’s reasons, respecting them, and admiring him. He had a better mind and a more rigorous temperament than me; he thought logically, and then acted on the conclusion of logical thought. Whereas most of us, I suspect, do the opposite: we make an instinctive decision, then build up an infrastructure of reason to justify it. And call the result common sense.
“The question of accumulation,” Adrian had written. […] Life isn’t just addition and subtraction. There’s also the accumulation, the multiplication, of loss, of failure.
Remorse, etymologically, is the action of biting again: that’s what the feeling does to you. Imagine the strength of the bite when I reread my words. They seemed like some ancient curse I had forgotten even uttering. Of course I don’t—I didn’t—believe in curses. That’s to say, in words producing events. But the very action of naming something that subsequently happens—of wishing specific evil, and that evil coming to pass—this still has a shiver of the otherworldly about it.
No, nothing to do with cleverness; and even less with moral courage. He didn’t grandly refuse an existential gift; he was afraid of the pram in the hall.
I looked at the chain of responsibility. I saw my initial in there. I remembered that in my ugly letter I had urged Adrian to consult Veronica’s mother. I replayed the words that would forever haunt me. As would Adrian’s unfinished sentence, “So, for instance, if Tony…”