“It was only a phrase that went from mouth to mouth and was never quite swallowed.”
“And everything would be different, different.”
“To tell the truth, this was one of the few cases in which she had not told him just what she was thinking. Usually, she let him know whatever thoughts happened to come to her, and indeed he never took it amiss if she let slip a word that might pain him, because when all was said and done that was the price one paid for sincerity.”
“His suspicion that he was not going in the right direction tortmented him more and more. At last he had the conviction that he would never go anywhere but in the wrong direction, to the very end of the handful of days that was left to him, unhappy moonstruck pilgrim, whose April was to be cut off short.”
“An Albanian’s house is the dwelling of God and the guest.’ Of God and the guest, you see. So before it is the house of its master, it is the house of one’s guest. The guest, in an Albanian’s life, represents the supreme ethical category, more important than blood relations. One may pardon the man who spills the blood of one’s father or of one’s son, but never the blood of a guest.”
“Having left, for various reasons, the homeland of epic, they were uprooted like trees overthrown, they had lost their heroic character and deep-seated virtue.”
“A mountaineer’s house, before being his home and the home of his family, is the home of God and of guests.”
“Two or three times it occurred to Gjorg that all these men had killed, and that each had his story. But those stories were locked deep within them. It was not just chance that in the glow of the fire their mouths, and even more their jaws, looked as if they had the shape of certain antique locks.”
“Why the Albanians had created the institution of the guest, exalting it above all other human relations, even those of kinship. “Perhaps the answer lies in the democratic character of this institution,” he said, setting himself to think his way through the matter. “Any ordinary man, on any day, can be raised to the lofty station of a guest. The path to that temporary deification is open to anybody at any time.[...] Given that anyone at all can grasp the sceptre of the guest,” he went on, “and since that sceptre, for every Albanian, surpasses even the king’s sceptre, may we not assume that in the Albanian’s life of danger and want, that to be a guest if only for four hours or twenty-four hours, is a kind of respite, a moment of oblivion, a truce, a reprieve, and—why not?—an escape from everyday life into some divine reality?”
“Yo solamente sabía que la quería y la quería para siempre…”
“When tending a vast and beautiful garden, you have to plant many seeds, never knowing ahead of time which ones will germinate, which will produce the most glorious flowers, which will bear the sweetest fruit. A good gardener plants them all, tends and nurtures them, and wishes them well. Optimism is the best fertilizer.”
“Nombeko said that she was South African, and that she thought it sounded laborious to hate all Americans, given how many of them there were.”
“Feminism is a choice, and if a woman does not want to be a feminist, that is her right, but it is still my responsibility to fight for her rights. I believe feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves. I believe women not just in the United States but throughout the world deserve equality and freedom but know I am in no position to tell women of other cultures what that equality and freedom should look like.”
“All he had to do was solve the mystery of the universe, which may be difficult but is not as difficult as living an ordinary life.”
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