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  • The apparent progress might be illusory.
  • Secret activities offer presidents the alluring but often illusory promise that they can achieve foreign policy goals without the bothersome debate and open decision that are staples of democracy.
  • They went in silence, her witchlight lighting the way, a silence Clary felt almost afraid to break, as if she would be shattering the illusory calm of a dream or a spell.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Heavenly Fire
  • Your access to the shadows, in this case illusory shadows, facilitates bad behavior.
    Dave Eggers  --  The Circle

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  • There is a need for the belief—even if illusory—that despite the ever-obvious evidence of familial messiness and complication, one’s child will always hold the most unconditional regard for her parent, the same one no doubt that Mary Burns felt her heart spill over with when she was handed her newborn daughter, and which I am sure washes over me whenever Thomas tugs my hand.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  A Gesture Life
  • And if I’m not going to find that with the Byrnes, I will find it, however partial and illusory, with the women in the sewing room.
    Christina Baker Kline  --  Orphan Train
  • Or at most, the nature of the guilt of all of these was technical if not illusory.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • Without the illusory balconies and colonnades, there was nothing but a heap of rubble on a barren hilltop.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Blood of Olympus
  • Now I was free to do as I wished, but I found the freedom illusory, for what I wished for the most had been taken from me.
    Khaled Hosseini  --  And The Mountains Echoed
  • The air was occasionally rent with the sounds of illusory beings murdering other illusory beings.
    Douglas Adams  --  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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  • People liked to imagine they were free to choose their own lives, but Beth had learned that choice was sometimes illusory.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Lucky One
  • We, or at any rate I, had built such elaborate fantasies about him and the illusory mother that seeing him in the flesh shredded my inventions like a hard yank on a paper chain.
    Maya Angelou  --  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • It wasn’t the cider which made me surpass myself, it was this liberation we had torn from the gray encroachments of 1943, the escape we had concocted, this afternoon of momentary, illusory, special and separate peace.
    John Knowles  --  A Separate Peace
  • One of the things he’d always loved about Clary was how easily caught up in her imagination she was, how easily she could wall herself away in illusory worlds of curses and princes and destiny and magic.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Fallen Angels
  • By closing the eyes and slumbering, and consenting to be deceived by shows, men establish and confirm their daily life of routine and habit everywhere, which still is built on purely illusory foundations.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • But even the most complaisant of his notable friends pitied his illusory passion.
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez  --  Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Absorbed in these illusory images, I forgot my destiny of one pursued.
    Jorge Luis Borges  --  The Garden of Forking Paths
  • A wider scope of view, and a deeper insight, may see rank, dignity, and station, all proved illusory, so far as regards their claim to human reverence, and yet not feel as if the universe were thereby tumbled headlong into chaos.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne  --  The House of the Seven Gables
  • Sarah Byrnes has never been someone with whom I felt comfortable talking about my illusory love life.
    Chris Crutcher  --  Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
  • The old king watched with thoughtful eyes, moved as he’d have been by the Shaper’s music, except that it was different: not visions of glorious things that might be or sly revisions of the bloody past but present beauty that made time’s flow seem illusory, some lower law that now had been suspended.
    John Gardner  --  Grendel
  • Which only lie on you illusory in the sunshine, in the usual relation of your feet or fingers or the knot of your shoestrings and are without power.
    Saul Bellow  --  The Adventures of Augie March
  • The problem seemed one that he could solve merely by entering at the nearest door and exploring through gallery and corridor until the truth were his; but he knew that such freedom was illusory, and that in fact his movements were watched.
    James Hilton  --  Lost Horizon
  • She had only time to feel that all this was hazy and perhaps illusory; but one thing was clear and determined—her answer.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory, and deceptive, like a mirage.
    Anton Chekhov  --  The Bet
  • I had no hopes to give her, nor treasures to offer her, for mine are given to Dulcinea, and the treasures of knights-errant are like those of the fairies,’ illusory and deceptive; all I can give her is the place in my memory I keep for her, without prejudice, however, to that which I hold devoted to Dulcinea, whom thou art wronging by thy remissness in whipping thyself and scourging that flesh—would that I saw it eaten by wolves—which would rather keep itself for the worms than for the…
    Miguel de Cervantes  --  Don Quixote
  • We have just circumcised them in a ritual that promises them manhood, but I am here to tell you that it is an empty, illusory promise, a promise than can never be fulfilled.
    Nelson Mandela  --  Long Walk to Freedom
  • Seymour once said to me—in a crosstown bus, of all places—that all legitimate religious study must lead to unlearning the differences, the illusory differences, between boys and girls, animals and stones, day and night, heat and cold.
    J.D. Salinger  --  Franny and Zooey
  • They seemed nothing more now than the purely subjective, impotent, illusory creatures of my temperament.
    Marcel Proust  --  Swann’s Way
  • That it was a Utopia, there being no known method from the known to the unknown: an infinity renderable equally finite by the suppositious apposition of one or more bodies equally of the same and of different magnitudes: a mobility of illusory forms immobilised in space, remobilised in air: a past which possibly had ceased to exist as a present before its probable spectators had entered actual present existence.
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
  • Maggie rose from her seat as she threw out this illusory prospect, devoutly hoping that Apollyon was gullible; but her hope sank when the old gypsy-woman said, "Stop a bit, stop a bit, little lady; we’ll take you home, all safe, when we’ve done supper; you shall ride home, like a lady."
    George Eliot  --  The Mill on the Floss
  • But one day in the classroom the professor of philosophy was blithely expounding on the illusory nature of the world for what seemed the fiftieth time and Phaedrus raised his hand and asked coldly if it was believed that the atomic bombs that had dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were illusory.
    Robert M. Pirsig  --  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • For in Lycurgus among the younger members of those smarter families whose children had been to the Snedeker School, existed a rather illusory and casual dinner and dance club called the "Now and Then."
    Theodore Dreiser  --  An American Tragedy
  • Her impression with regard to Isabel’s labours was quite illusory; the girl had never attempted to write a book and had no desire for the laurels of authorship.
    Henry James  --  The Portrait of a Lady - Volumes 1 & 2
  • If he could take a rest (a permanent rest) from the hospital operating table, then why not from theworld operating table, the one where his imaginary scalpel opened the strongbox women use to hide their illusory one-millionth part dissimilarity?
    Milan Kundera  --  The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • …Kate into Nan, the mad poet was quite wrong, for anybody can change Kate into Nan, or if indeed the Prince couldn’t change Kate into Nan it was only because Kate and Nan were exactly alike to begin with and were, in fact, the same with only the illusory difference of name, which meant nothing, for names meant nothing and all the words we speak meant nothing, and there was only the pulse in the blood and the twitch of the nerve, like a dead frog’s leg in the experiment when the electric…
    Robert Penn Warren  --  All the King’s Men
  • Allie, he thought Allie at least had been into the world in her own self-illusory way.
    Stephen King  --  The Gunslinger
  • But their health benefits were illusory.
    Eric Schlosser  --  Fast Food Nation
  • Often the pleasure is illusory, but their error in calculation is no refutation of the rule.
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
  • Drizzt spun back on the mirror, grasping at the demon’s illusory weapon.
    R.A. Salvatore  --  The Crystal Shard
  • You had said you knew so well "that kind of thing," its illusory satisfaction, its unavoidable deception.
    Joseph Conrad  --  Lord Jim
  • Stepping past Max, he stooped to examine his illusory double, which continued to shuffle and deal as though nothing had happened.
    Henry H. Neff  --  The Fiend And The Forge
  • The sun, that great magic lantern, casts its illusory light, catching my father’s face in such a way that I see no lines, no pallor, no sadness.
    Libba Bray  --  Sweet Far Thing
  • Those manners threw a pleasing illusory charm over human nature; and though the picture was often a false one, it could not be viewed without a noble satisfaction.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 2
  • The vibrations produced amazing effects near their source, but like all ghostly things, quickly languished with distance, grew feeble, their powers merely illusory.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • Her impression with regard to Isabel’s labours was quite illusory; the girl had never attempted to write a book and had no desire for the laurels of authorship.
    Henry James  --  The Portrait of a Lady - Volume 1
  • If the really impressive books and other art-works of the world were produced by ordinary men, they would express more fear of women’s pursuit than love of their illusory beauty.
    George Bernard Shaw  --  Man And Superman
  • On the door-stone stood a clean old woman, in a dark-striped linen gown, a red kerchief, and a linen cap, talking to some speckled fowls which appeared to have been drawn towards her by an illusory expectation of cold potatoes or barley.
    George Eliot  --  Adam Bede
  • It was a love that had nothing to do with Joe Camber’s day-to-day behavior toward him or his mother; it was a brute, biological thing that he would never be free of, a phenomenon with many illusory referents of the sort which haunt for a lifetime: the smell of cigar-smoke, the look of a double-edged razor reflected in a mirror, pants hung over a chair, certain curse words.
    Stephen King  --  Cujo
  • Their hair is long, unkempt, and strangely white; they make us shrink and shudder with an indefinable repulsion, though the effect may be from an illusory glozing of the light glimmering dismally through the unhealthy murk; or they may be enduring the tortures of hunger and thirst, not having had to eat or drink since their servant, the convict, was taken away—that is, since yesterday.
    Lew Wallace  --  Ben Hur
  • The experiment has, however, demonstrated that this expectation was ill-founded and illusory; and the observations, made under the last head, will, I imagine, have sufficed to convince the impartial and discerning, that there is an absolute necessity for an entire change in the first principles of the system; that if we are in earnest about giving the Union energy and duration, we must abandon the vain project of legislating upon the States in their collective capacities; we must…
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
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