This post is a collection of quotes from the book - The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. The Maidens is a spellbinding literary thriller weaving together Greek mythology, psychology, and murder.
A baby’s first sense of self comes through its parents’ gaze. We are born being watched - our parents’ expressions, what we see reflected in the mirror of their eyes, determines how we see ourselves.
Once you kill another human being, there’s no going back. I see that now. I see I have become altogether a different person. It’s a bit like being reborn, I suppose. But no ordinary birth - it’s a metamorphosis. What emerges from the ashes is not a phoenix, but an uglier creature: deformed, incapable of flight, a predator using its claws to cut and rip.
Everyone’s entitled to be the hero of their own story. So I must be permitted to be the hero of mine. Even though I’m not. I’m the villain.
We all secretly hope that tragedy will only ever happen to other people. But Mariana knew, sooner or later, it happens to you.
What sheltered lives we live here in the cloister - naive, perhaps even wilfully ignorant of the horrors of the outside world.
Reading about life was no preparation for living it.
It’s important to keep looking ahead. You mustn’t forever look back, over your shoulder. Think about the future.
After we die, all that remains of us is a mystery; and our possessions, of course, to be picked over by strangers.
If you’re not aware of the transcendent, if you’re not awake to the glorious mystery of life and death that you’re lucky enough to be part of - if that doesn’t fill you with joy and strike you with awe ... you might as well not be alive.
Farmers, like kings, have need of many sons.
Don’t glorify the events of your life and try to give them meaning. There is no meaning. Life means nothing. Death means nothing.
Mariana might not be a detective, but she was a therapist, and she knew how to listen. To listen not only to what was being said, but also to everything unsaid, all the words unspoken – the lies, evasions, projections, transferences, and other psychological phenomena that occurred between two people.
You’re a beautiful woman, but you have more than beauty. You have a certain quality - a stillness. Like the stillness in the depths of the ocean, far beneath the waves, where nothing moves. Very still ... and very sad.
It was strange, how moments of extreme clarity often had the same texture as drunkenness.
It’s not easy, being so open and receptive to another human being, you’re able to feel their feelings ... It’s a poisoned chalice in many ways. I’ve always thought so.
We should always pay attention when our body tells us something.
I believe that children will do anything to be loved. When they’re very young, it’s a matter of physical, then psychological survival. They’ll do whatever it takes to be cared for. And some people take advantage of that.
It must be obvious - the answer must be right there in front of her. But still, she couldn’t grasp it - it was like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle in the dark.
That was the funniest part of this whole performance: watching you play detective. You’re not the detective ... You’re the victim.
Forgiveness could not be coerced - it was experienced spontaneously, as an act of grace, appearing only when a person was ready.