On health economics:

Florence Rath died only eight days later, complaining not so much of a broken thigh and a fractured pelvis as of the refusal of the doctors to obey her.

“They know they can’t cure me, so why don’t they send me home?” she asked Tom every day, and he was never able to invent a plausible answer.

On when life’s worth living:

“If you are pregnant,” he had said, “will you have the child?”

“God willing,” she had replied, and he had been glad, absurdly glad that in flying to meet his evil, grinning little man with the bayonet, he was leaving a child behind, even if it were a child with no father to care for it; a ragamuffin child dancing in the street for pennies, perhaps, but at least a child, which was better than to die and leave nothing, as though he had never been born.

On success and (self-?) deception:

To his surprise, Betsy looked hurt.  “I wish you’d stop being so damn bright and cynical,” she said.  “It’s no way to start a new job.  You ought to be enthusiastic.  Damn it, Tommy, try to be naive!”

“What’s got into you?” he asked, looking puzzled.

“I’ll bet Hopkins doesn’t go around making wisecracks!” she said.  “Does he?”


“Nobody does who gets anywhere.  You’ve got to be positive and enthusiastic!”

“How come you know so much all of the sudden about how to get ahead?”

“I just know,” she said.  “I’m sick of being smart and broke.”

I can’t remember the last time I so enjoyed a novel by someone I’d never heard of before.  Try it.