• The window gave onto a view of dove-gray roofs and balconies, each one containing the same cracked flowerpot and sleeping feline. It was as if the entire city of Paris had agreed to abide by a single understated taste. Each neighbor was doing his or her own to keep up standards, which was difficult because the French ideal wasn't clearly delineated like the neatness and greenness of American lawns, but more of a picturesque disrepair. It took courage to let things fall apart so beautifully.

    Jeffrey Eugenides (2011). “The Marriage Plot: A Novel”, p.136, Macmillan