30+ quotes from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Quotes from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Anthony Marra ·  416 pages

Rating: (38.2K votes)


“We wear clothes, and speak, and create civilizations, and believe we are more than wolves. But inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce and that is who we are.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Life: a constellation of vital phenomena—organization, irritability, movement, growth, reproduction, adaptation.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“There is something miraculous in the way the years wash away your evidence, first you, then your friends and family, then the descendants who remember your face, until you aren’t even a memory, you’re only carbon, no greater than your atoms, and time will divide them as well.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“She wanted to hold foreign syllables like mints on her tongue until they dissolved into fluency.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Perhaps our deepest love is already inscribed within us, so its object doesn't create a new word but instead allows us to read the one written.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“At the kitchen table she examined the glass of ice. Each cube was rounded by room temperature, dissolving in its own remains, and belatedly she understood that this was how a loved one disappeared. Despite the shock wave of walking into an empty flat, the absence isn’t immediate, more a fade from the present tense you shared, a melting into the mast, not an erasure but a conversion in form, from presence to memory, from solid to liquid, and the person you once touched runs over your skin, now in sheets down your back, and you may bathe, may sink, may drown in the memory, but your fingers cannot hold it.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“How often is immense sadness mistaken for courage?”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“You are mine. I recognize you. We twist our souls around each other's miseries. It is that which makes us family.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“For their entire lives, even before they met you, your mother and father held their love for you inside their hearts like an acorn holds an oak tree.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Invader and invaded held on to their fistfuls of earth, but in the end, the earth outlived the hands that held it.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“But inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce and that is who we are.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“For months they'd run their fingers around the hem of their affection without once acknowledging the fabric.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“He was losing her incrementally...As a web is no more than holes woven together, they were bonded by what was no longer there.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“I've always though Marx's view on religion was the one thing he got right. Faith is a crutch.'

'If you step on a land mine,' Akhmed said, "the crutch becomes the leg.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“She was fluent in four languages and yet her fists against the rusted hood were the fullest articulation of her defeat.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Those smooth, spit-cleaned cheeks gave no indication of the dreams crowding her skull. Should she make it to adulthood, the girl would arrive with two hundred and six bones. Two and a half million sweat glands. Ninety-six thousand kilometers of blood vessels. Forty-six chromosomes. Seven meters of small intestines. Six hundred and six discrete muscles. One hundred billion cerebral neurons. Two kidneys. A liver. A heart. A hundred trillion cells that died and were replaced, again and again. But no matter how many ways she dismembered and quantified the body lying beside her, she couldn't say how many years the girl would wait before she married, if at all, or how many children she would have, if any; and between teh creation of this body and its end lay the mystery the girl would spend her life solving.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Love, she learned, could reduce its recipient to an essential thing, as important as food or shelter, whose presence is not only longed for but needed.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Her father was the face of her morning and night, he was everything, so saturating Havaa’s world that she could no more describe him than she could the air.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Work isn't meaningful just because you spend your life doing it.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“A lizard fucks a crab and nine months later a turtle pops out. It's called evolution.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“What parts had she discarded for the sake of her sanity? What had she cut from herself? Had he stared into her pupils he would have emerged, bewildered and blinking, on the far side of the earth. Was he awed by her? Absolutely. Did he respect her? Unequivocally. Want to be anything like her? No, never, not at all.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“There was a time when she had indulged in the hypothetical for hours a day, plotting the map that had led her here. But no life is a line, and hers was an uneven orbit around a dark star, a moth circling a dead bulb, searching for the light it once held.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“You are a coward,' she said, and with that one word wrote a denunciation, a biography, and a prophecy.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Nothing, she now knew, could be defined in exclusion, and every bug, pencil, and grass blade was a dictionary in itself, requiring the definitions of all things to fulfill its own.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“It’s stupid. There are maps to show you how to get to the place where you want to be but no maps that show you how to get to the time when you want to be.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“As someone whose days were defined by the ten thousand ways a human can hurt, she needed, now and then, to remember that the nervous system didn't exist exclusively to feel pain.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Entire years had passed when he was rich enough in time to disregard the loose change of a minute, but now he obsessed over each one, this minute, the next minute, the one following, all of which were different terms for the same illusion.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“She praised his book and he embraced her from gratitude rather than lust, but she didn't let go. Neither did he. She kissed his cheek, his earlobe. For months they'd run their fingers around the hem of their affection without once acknowledging the fabric. The circumference of the world tightened to what their arms encompassed. She sat on the desk, between the columns of read and unread manuscript, and pulled him toward her by his index fingers.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Don't insult me. Everyone knows a turtle is a crustacean on its mother's side.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


“Of course he was required to wear a seat belt, just as he was required to give directions to a torture camp, because stupidity was the single abiding law of the universe.”
― Anthony Marra, quote from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


About the author

Anthony Marra
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