Quotes from Breathing Lessons

Anne Tyler ·  350 pages

Rating: (20.4K votes)


“I mean you're given all these lessons for the unimportant things--piano-playing, typing. You're given years and years of lessons in how to balance equations, which Lord knows you will never have to do in normal life. But how about parenthood? Or marriage, either, come to think of it. Before you can drive a car you need a state-approved course of instruction, but driving a car is nothing, nothing, compared to living day in and day out with a husband and raising up a new human being.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“Smells could bring a person back clearer than pictures even could.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“Why did popular songs always focus on romantic love? Why this preoccupation with first meetings, sad partings, honeyed kisses, heartbreak, when life was also full of children's births and trips to the shore and longtime jokes with friends? Once Maggie had seen on TV where archaeologists had just unearthed a fragment of music from who knows how many centuries B.C., and it was a boys lament for a girl who didn't love him back. Then besides the songs there were the magazine stories and the novels and the movies, even the hair-spray ads and the pantyhose ads. It struck Maggie as disproportionate. Misleading, in fact.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“Past is past... no it's not! People are always fond of saying that, but what's past is never past; not entirely.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“At this moment (letting a breeze ripple through her fingers like warm water), Maggie felt that the entire business of time's passing was more than she could bear.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons



“Ghosts... they are the completions of the deads intended gestures, there unfinished plans still hanging in the air - something like when you forgot one thing and so you pantomime the motion.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“They entered Pennsylvania and the road grew smooth for a few hundred yards, like a good intention, before settling back to the old scabby, stippled surface.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“Sugar's cheek was smooth and taut beneath the veil. It felt like one of these netted onions in a grocery store.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“Now look: Droplets of oil were dotted across the front of her best dress, over the mound of her stomach. She was clumsy and fat-stomached and she didn't even have the sense to wear an apron while she was cooking. Also she had paid way too much for this dress, sixty-four dollars at Hecht's, which would scandalize Ira if he knew. How could she have been so greedy? She dabbed at her nose with the back of her hand. Took a deep breath. Well. Anyhow.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“Sifting through these layers of belongings while Ira stood mute behind her, Maggie had a sudden view of her life as circular. It forever repeated itself, and it was entirely lacking in hope.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons



“It was Serena who'd said that motherhood was much too hard and, when you got right down to it, perhaps not worth the effort.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“And all at once I had no one to trade looks with.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“All those things we used to promise ourselves we'd never, ever do when we grew up. Like we promised we wouldn't mince when we walk barefoot. We promised we wouldn't lie out on the beach tanning instead of swimming, or swimming with our chins high so we wouldn't wet our hairdos. We promised we wouldn't wash the dishes right after supper because that would take us away from our husbands; remember that? How long since you saved the dishes till morning so you could be with Max? How long since Max even noticed that you didn't?”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“Может быть, его жизнь сложилась не так, как мечталось ему в восемнадцать лет, но о ком можно сказать иное? Так уж жизнь устроена — как правило.

В те мгновения он понял, в чем состоит настоящая расточительность. Господи, да. Не в том, что ему приходится содержать этих людей, а в его неспособности уяснить, как сильно он их любит.

Она так старалась не обратиться в свою мать, что взяла да и обратилась в отца.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons


“Джесси обнял Фиону, положил голову ей на плечо, и что-то в этой картине – его темная голова рядом с ее светлой – напомнило Мэгги о том, какой она еще до замужества рисовала себе семейную жизнь. Далеко не той, что сложилась у нее. Мэгги думала тогда, что брак гораздо сильнее изменяет людей – две противоположности сходятся, чуть ли не с грохотом и треском. Она полагала, что, когда выйдет замуж, все ее проблемы точно рукой снимет, – вот так, собираясь в отпуск, ты оставляешь неразрешенными несколько запутанных задач, да еще и с легкостью, как будто никогда не вернешься назад и не столкнешься с ними снова. Ошибалась, разумеется. Однако, глядя в те мгновения на Джесси и Фиону, Мэгги почти поверила в справедливость своих давних представлений. Она ушла в дом, тихо закрыла за собой сетчатую дверь и решила, что все кончится хорошо.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from Breathing Lessons



About the author

Anne Tyler
Born place: in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The United States
Born date October 25, 1941
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