| Quote #1
Dr. Juvenal Urbino studied him for a moment, his heart aching as it rarely had in the long years of his futile struggle against death. (1.3)
The book's just started, and already we're thinking about the death of one of the main characters.
| Quote #2
Year after year, during contemplative pauses on afternoons of chess, Dr. Urbino had seen the gradual covering over of the walls, and he had often thought with a shudder of sorrow that in the gallery of casual portraits lay the germ of the future city, governed and corrupted by those unknown children, where not even the ashes of his glory would remain. (1.14)
Dr. Urbino's friend Jeremiah isn't just any sort of photographer – he's a photographer of children, which makes sense given his obsession with youth and fear of aging. While most of the time children in literature make people feel hopeful and full of promise, here they make Dr. Urbino shudder, because they remind him of his own mortality. Weird.
| Quote #3
Although he refused to retire, he was aware that he was called in only for hopeless cases, but he considered this a form of specialization too. (1.24)
So Dr. Urbino has become a doctor who doesn't help people get better, but rather to help them die.