Protagonist Lawrence Breavman, on the beauty of women:
Some women possess their beauty as they do a custom sportscar or a thoroughbred horse. They drive it hard to every appointment and grant interviews from the saddle. The lucky ones have small accidents and learn to walk in the street, because nobody wants to listen to an arrogant old lady. Some women wear moss over their beauty and occasionally something rips it away – a lover, a pregnancy, maybe a death – and an incredible smile shows through, deep happy eyes, perfect skin, but this is temporary and soon the moss reforms. Some women study and counterfeit beauty. Industries have been established to serve these women, and men are conditioned to favour them. Some women inherit beauty as a family feature, and learn to value it slowly, as the scion of a great family becomes proud of an unusual chin because so many distinguished men bore it. And some women, Breavman thought, women like Shell, create it as they go along, changing not so much their faces as the air around them. They break down old rules of light and cannot be interpreted or compared. They make every room original.
From The Favorite Game, by Leonard Cohen (published 1963).