“She was already in the habit of writing down important matters, and afterward, when she was mute, she also recorded trivialities, never suspecting that fifty years later I would use her notebooks to reclaim the past and overcome terrors of my own.” (3)

“She preferred not to torment her daughter with earthly demands, for she had a premonition that her daughter was a heavenly being, and that she was not destined to last very long in the vulgar traffic of this world.” (7)

“Of all the del Valle children, Clara was the one with the greatest interest in and stamina for her uncle’s stories. She could repeat each and every one of them. She knew by heart words from several dialects of the Indians….” (16)

“I had had to weave my love out of memories and cravings that were impossible to satisfy, out of letters that took forever to arrive and arrived faded, and that were incapable of reflecting the intensity of my feelings or the pain of her absence, because I have no gift for letter-writing and much less for writing about my own emotions.” (32)

“It is a delight for me to read her notebooks from those years, which describe a magic world that no longer exists. Clara lived in a universe of her own invention, protected from life’s inclement weather, where the prosaic truth of material objects mingled with the tumultuous reality of dreams and the laws of physics and logic did not apply.” (72)

“Alba was born feet first, which is a sign of good luck…. ‘There’s no need to worry about this little girl. She will be lucky and she will be happy.” (223)

“She was one of those stoical, practical women of our country, the kind of woman who has a child with every man who passes through her life and… a woman who’s the pillar of many other lives, who raises her children to grow up and leave her and lets her men leave too, without a word of reproach, because she has more pressing things to worry about.” (365)

“It was my grandfather who had the idea that we should write this story.” (366)

“I am beginning to suspect that nothing that happens is fortuitous, that it all corresponds to a fate laid down before my birth….” (367)

“She also helped us write, and thanks to her presence Esteban Trueba was able to die happy, murmuring her name: Clara, clearest, clairvoyant.” (367)