Lost Horizon : Top Ten Quotes

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  1. "If I were to put it into a very few words, my dear sir, I should say that our prevalent belief is in moderation” (Chapter 4, p. 69).Chang explains to the newcomers that the lamasery of Shangri-la cultures a belief in moderation as the basis of tolerance, long life, and happiness.
  2. “Conway had grown used to people liking him only because they misunderstood him.”Conway is seen as the war hero, the diplomat who is cool under pressure. In truth, he is detached, always partly an onlooker because what is going on is never as interesting as his own inner life. Mallinson is the main one who misunderstands him, thinking he is mad for wanting to stay in Shangri-la.
  3. “For the valley was nothing less than an enclosed paradise of amazing fertility, in which the vertical difference of a few thousand feet spanned the whole gulf between temperate and tropical” (Chapter 6, p. 97).The valley of the Blue Moon that Shangri-la lamasery overlooks is sheltered in the mountains and is both a physical and spiritual paradise. The people are happy and without want.
  4. “There’s no good in doing a thing because you like doing it” (Chapter 6, p. 100)Miss Brinklow is a Christian missionary who dislikes the laxness and happiness of the valley people. She believes there is more merit in doing things that are an unpleasant duty.
  5. “‘the whole game’s going to pieces’ . . . It fitted Baskul and Delhi and London, war making and empire building, consulates and trade concessions and dinner parties at Government House; there was a reek of dissolution over all that recollected world” (Chapter 6, p. 114).Barnard describes the crash of the stock market as the game going to pieces. Conway applies the phrase to the whole world atmosphere of the 1930s as the pressure for another world war builds up.
  6. “ . . . to tell his whole story in the past tense would bore him a great deal as well as sadden him a little” (Chapter 6, p. 116).Conway tries to imagine leaving Shangri-la and going back to the west where he would have to tell his story to the papers and at dinner parties. He realizes how precious is the present to him in this place and how he wants it to be more than a memory.
  7. “His memory was astonishing; it appeared to have escaped the trammels of the physical into some upper region of immense clarity” (Chapter 7, p. 129).Father Perrault narrates his own story of how his powers began to increase after the age of 100 as he studied the techniques of Tibetan Buddhism.
  8. “[Mozart] builds a house which is neither too big nor too little, and he furnishes it in perfect taste” (Chapter 8, pp. 136-137).Father Perrault explains his liking for his favorite composer. Mozart. His music reflects Shangri-la’s ideas of moderation, proportion, balance, and beauty.
  9. “Laziness in doing stupid things can be a great virtue” (Chapter 8, p. 142).Father Perrault says this to Conway who has just confessed he is a bit lazy at his job as consul. He has never been ambitious in his career. His heart and soul have not been in his work.
  10. “[Beauty] lies at the mercy of those who do not know how to value it. It is a fragile thing that can only live where fragile things are loved” (Chapter 11, p. 193).Conway pleads with Mallinson not to take Lo-Tsen from Shangri-la. He knows her beauty is delicate and will fade. Mallinson is too worldly to understand such a point.

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