I recently did a buddy read with my friend for Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka. Having virtually no experience reading action thrillers, I suppose you can say I went in with fairly low expectations, but was happy to go along for the ride, as my friend was so excited about reading it. I’ve noticed that this seems to be the trick for finding exceptional reads – cruising into a book as nonchalantly as possible, and being so taken aback when it ends up being pretty damn good.
I read Bullet Train on Kindle, and ended up highlighting every other line. Many of the characters are deep thinkers, and lapse into internal monologues about mortality and morals. So, in a sea of great quotes, I’ve plucked the 5 that really resonated with me the most:
Probably nothing going on inside… Often the case with people who don’t read fiction. Hollow inside, monochrome, so they can switch gears no problem. They swallow something and forget about it as soon as it goes down their throat. Constitutionally incapable of empathy. These are the people who most need to read, but in most cases it’s already too late.
“You and me, if we die, we’ll come back for sure.”
“Like trees bearing fruit every year?”
“We’ll both be back.”
Slightly more of a contextual quote, this is said by assassin duo Tangerine and Lemon. I genuinely welled up during this conversation, and the fruit metaphor.
A person can’t live without being able to tell themselves that they’re right, that they’re strong, that they have value. So when their words and actions diverge from their view of themselves, they start looking for excuses, to help reconcile the contradiction. Parents who abuse their children, clergy who engage in illicit affairs, politicians who suffer disgrace – they all come up with excuses. Being forced to submit to someone else’s will is the same. It makes people try to justify themselves. In order to avoid acknowledging one’s impotence, one’s abject weakness, people try to find some reason. They think, this person must be something really special to beat me so thoroughly. Or, anyone would be powerless in this situation. This gives some small satisfaction. The more confidence and self-regard someone has, the more they need to tell themselves something like this. And once they do, the power relations are set in stone.”
This is one of many, many ramblings of a psychopath. I thought it was powerful enough that it made me feel uncomfortable just reading it!
Anything that’s existed for a long time deserves respect. Survival is proof of superiority.
People who can’t control their emotions are the easiest to handle.
We’re planning on watching the film next month when it’s released in U.K. cinemas, so I’m excited to see how these great lines are delivered by actual real people. No doubt there will be a bit of “they did it better in the book!”…