Quotes from Broken Verses

Kamila Shamsie ·  352 pages

Rating: (1.4K votes)


“There is no mystery-- that's the beauty of it. We are entirely explicable to each other, and yet we stay. What a miracle that is.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses


“Can I ask you a personal question"? Of all the rhetorical questions
in the world, that is the one which irritates me most with its
simultaneous gesture towards and denial of the trespass that is about
to follow.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses


“Don't you know how much I hero-worshiped you when I was a kid? You
were Marie Curie crossed with Emily Bronte crossed with Joan of Arc to
me when I was ten. And when i told you that, you said my cultural
references were the sign of a colonized mind.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses


“The next day it's Virginia Woolf who wafts through. Hers is a
curiously insistent presence; take your eyes off her for a moment and
the next thing you know she's rearranging your syntax as though it
were cutlery improperly laid out for a seven-course meal with some
foreign dignitary who disdains your nation's table manners.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses


“At what point does character-playing become habit, something for which we are grateful because it allows us to go through the world with the ease that comes from being predictable to ourselves, even if that predictability takes the form of neurosis, hysteria, depression? And at what point does that habit turn darkly into addiction? I wiped my hands clean. We are so desperate to be explicable to ourselves, to rely on ourselves, that we need to believe a certain version of who we are even when evidence starts to mount that the version is a lie, even when the part of us which is not tamed by habit strains to break free and overwhelm the tired, repetitive creature that our character has become, mouldering at the edges.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses



“I think Shehnaz was right. In the end it wasn’t about the Poet, or me or anyone. It was about a minute, five minutes, ten minutes in which she believed, with utter certainty, that she simply could not endure any more.’ It seemed impossible, already, to have denied this truth for so long.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses


“I will not be in here for ever, I promise. All metaphors need to come up for air. When I can bear no more of separation, when I have learnt all that absence can teach me of desire, the walls will shimmer and I will step out of the mirage, into your arms, to lose myself and find myself.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses


“In his prison poems, the bars on his windows are merely the grid through which he sees shooting stars, each lash of a whip is a reminder of the insecurity of tyrants, and a rumour that orders for his execution have been dispatched is reason to weep for the executioner.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses


“Your mother and I had one conversation a little before she died. She was sitting in the garden one evening when I came home from work, and she said, “I have to confess something. When we played ‘chicken’ from KDA to Clifton and I said I made you run three red lights, I lied. I made you stop even when they were only just turning amber.” And I replied, “Samina, I didn’t love you because you were the girl who ran red lights. I loved you because when you covered my eyes with your hands, I knew I could trust you to get me home.” She was afraid of running red lights, Aasmaani. She wasn’t an unbreakable creature of myth. She was entirely human, entirely breakable, and entirely extraordinary.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses


“It’s true, that in concrete battles the tyrants may have the upper hand in terms of tactics, weapons, ruthlessness. What our means of protest attempt to do is to move the battles towards abstract space. Force tyranny to defend itself in language. Weaken it with public opinion, with supreme court judgements, with debates and subversive curriculum. Take hold of the media, take hold of the printing presses and the newspapers, broadcast your views from pirate radio channels, spread the word. Don’t do anything less than all you are capable of, and remember that history outlives you. It may not be until your grandchildren’s days that they’ll point back and say, there were sown the seeds of what we’ve now achieved.”
― Kamila Shamsie, quote from Broken Verses



About the author

Kamila Shamsie
Born place: in Karachi, Pakistan
Born date August 13, 1973
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