Excerpt from the book “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness

You were merely wishing for the end of pain, the monster said.  Your own pain.  An end to how it isolated you.  It is the most human wish of all.

“I didn’t mean it,” Conor said.

You did, the monster said, but you also did not.

Conor sniffed and looked up to its face, which was as big as a wall in front of him.  “How can both be true?”

Because humans are complicated beasts, the monster said.  How can a queen be both a good witch and a bad witch?  How can a prince be a murderer and a saviour?  How can an apothecary be evil-tempered but right thinking?  How can a parson be wrong-thinking but good-hearted?  How can invisible men make themselves more lonely by being seen?
“I don’t know,” Conor shrugged, exhausted.  “Your stories never made any sense to me.”
The answer is that it does not matter what you think, the monster said, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day.  You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her.  Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary.  And your mind will punish you for believing both.

“But how do you fight it?” Conor asked, his voice rough.  “How do you fight all the different stuff inside?”

By speaking the truth, the monster said.  As you spoke it just now.

Conor thought again of his mother’s hands, of the grip as he let go –

Stop this, Conor O’Malley, the monster said, gently.  This is why I came walking, to tell you this so that you may heal.  You must listen.

Conor swallowed again. “I’m listening.”

You do not write your life with words, the monster said.  You write it with actions.  What you think is not important.  It is only important what you do.

There was a long silence as Conor re-caught his breath.  “So what do I do?” he finally asked.

You do what you did just now, the monster said.  You speak the truth.

“That’s it?”

You think it is easy? The monster raised two enormous eyebrows.  You were willing to die rather than speak it.


~From the book “A Monster Calls”


~ by cjt on November 9, 2012.

One Response to “Excerpt from the book “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness”

  1. #greatbook

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