minor and crystal images in Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries

His face was broad and his eyes spaced widely; his lips were full, his teeth very crooked, and his nose rather large. These features conspired to form an expression that was both honest and nonchalant – and nonchalance is a form of elegance, when it demands much, and declines to reveal its source.

– Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries, Little, Brown and Co., London, 2013, p. 108

The banker spoke with the controlled alarm of a bureaucrat who is requested to explain some mundane feature of the bureaucracy of which he is a functioning part: controlled, because an official is always comforted by proof of his own expertise, and alarmed, because the necessity for explanation seemed, in some obscure way, to undermine the system which had afforded him that expertise in the first place.

– Ibid., p. 109

– Franz Kafka with Ottla, his favourite sister

A man on the inside has to contend with the pawns – with all the pieces of the system. But a man on the outside can deal with the Devil direct.

– Ibid., p. 127

– Ray Brassier

In his mind a protective glaze had been applied to the crystal forms of high abstraction: he loved to regard them, and to wonder at their shine, but he had never thought to take them down from their carved and oaken mantel, so to speak, and feel them, supple in his hands.

– Ibid., p. 129

The pale light of the day, falling slantwise across Nilssen’s desk, froze the eddies of pipe-smoke that hung about his head – fixing each coiling thread upon the air, as mineral quartz preserves a twisting vein of gold, and proffers it.

– Ibid., pp. 131-132