Quote: Gregory David Roberts
It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.
The first lines of Shantaram, Roberts’s mostly-autobiographical novel that tells the story of his escape from an Australian prison and subsequent adventures. I have not read it.
It is wordy and more than a little clichéd; it also uses quite a lot of words to say not very much. All of that aside, though, the language is beautifully composed, with a very clean rhythm, and the first clause especially is something I can never forget.