Tropic of Cancer
How we cite our quotes:
This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult. (1.6)
We have to give Henry Miller some credit. After all, when was the last time someone opened a story like that? This is what we like to call a "red flag" moment. If the narrator says something that shocking, it's worth paying attention to whether or not he follows through on his promise. What's the verdict?
Today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it only has one great page in it: we must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and soul.
Although Miller cites literally dozens of authors he respects, he doesn't think it's looking good for writing—or civilization, for that matter. So take what you can get, he says. Even the smallest shred of meaning may be enough to change the collision course of civilization. Books are a good starting place.
The only writers about me for whom I have any respect, at present are Carl and Boris. They are possessed. They glow inwardly with a white flame (1.15).
With the exceptions of Carl and Boris, Henry thinks that just about all of his friends are bad writers. So what's his idea of good writing? Something that comes straight from your soul and your gut—you know, something you just have to get out of you. We're kind of surprised he didn't make the bodily function comparison here.