Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sparta Kindle Notes

Below are the highlights from my 2014 Reading List selection:

Sparta: A Novel by Roxana Robinson
You have 21 highlighted passages

Conrad liked seeing them like this: sleep was like salary, his men were owed.
Read more at location 51

The last four years were being dismantled around him, subsiding, melting away in a silent cascade. Their shared life was over: from now on, for the rest of their lives, they would share only a past, never the present. It was as though Jackson himself were vanishing before his eyes. Though what they shared would always be there. Part of their life was fluid, part fixed.
Read more at location 514

All this was invaluable battlefield training: no other city-states offered practice killings.
Read more at location 754

Sparta’s rigidity in obeying its own strict laws was finally the cause of its downfall.
Read more at location 766

If the Marines are the surgical tool of war, the scalpel, the Army is the blunt instrument, the sledgehammer.
Read more at location 1014

There was the question of appropriate behavior. Conrad was an officer; he couldn’t talk to every laborer with broken shoes who had read Homer. And he couldn’t consider every question that arose and challenged his moral right to be in Iraq. He was there to carry out the mission, to obey his commanding officers in a branch of service he deeply respected. He was doing his duty. There was the question of why the U.S. forces had destroyed this country. The question of why they were treating their allies—the people they had come here to liberate and protect—with such deep and lethal contempt. The question of whether what they were doing was honorable.
Read more at location 1336

The others laughed. Conrad laughed with them, but it was like watching a movie. After a moment Jenny turned to him.
Read more at location 1460

“So, Con, tell. What was it like?” They all wanted something. They all wanted to draw him home, into their world, and they all wanted to enter his world, but in a safe way. They wanted funny stories and brave ones, scary ones only if they were bearable. They wanted their hearts wrung, but in a tolerable way. They wanted to learn that his world was safe, or, if not safe, that it was livable after all. They wanted to hear stories here, from the safety of the kitchen table, and who could blame them? Why would he impose on them what he knew? Why bring the black bloom of explosions into their eyes? Make them hear the sounds he had heard coming from human beings?Read more at location 1461

He told Ollie and Jenny briefly, too, about being hit by an IED. He knew they wanted to hear it, though there wasn’t much to tell. Being hit wasn’t a story like a firefight; it was an existential occurrence. You were driving along and the world was normal, and then it was black and filled with sound, and you were lost.
Read more at location 1501

But letters you carried with you, you kept them in your pocket or under your pillow, if you had one. You put them inside your helmet, or just inside your seabag, or in your boot or your locker, someplace where they were safe and you could touch them. Sometimes you just wanted to run your fingertips across the envelope, that was enough; sometimes you wanted to take the letter out, unfold it, and read it again so you knew you’d had another life once, been part of another world.
Read more at location 1693

Conrad was trying not to stare. She gave off a muted radiance: he felt everyone could see it. It was like sitting with someone who had a spotlight trained on her.
Read more at location 1707

This was the mission: Suck it up.
Read more at location 2052

But even that, even talking about the landscape there, in-country, was oddly painful. There was some kind of pull from it: he didn’t tell Claire that.R
ead more at location 2267

didn’t tell her there was something he missed. He missed his men, and he missed something more. It was like a dark crack, a crevasse, a sliver, reaching down inside him, deep and narrow. There was something he needed from there, something he didn’t have here.
Read more at location 2269

None of this mattered. He wanted to be able to press himself against the length of her and pound himself into oblivion; he also wanted to be able to turn and walk away at any moment, recover his own sense of his world, return to a place where she was not. A wildness was inside him, like a sandstorm, raging, senseless, amorphous.R
ead more at location 2495

He thought about reenlisting himself: Why stand on the sidelines when the life he knew was still going
Read more at location 3055

During action, when the Cobras flew past overhead, their machine guns racketing down onto the bad guys, everyone got hard. The guys joked about it afterward, boasting.
Read more at location 3896

The part of him that was still there was like the ocean, huge and moving and unseen. It was really all of him. That’s where he was; that’s where he still was.
Read more at location 4155

None of them were nearby, and he didn’t want to tell this to any of them. Fear was a secret you kept forever. Read more at location 4204

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