28+ quotes from Defending Jacob by William Landay

Quotes from Defending Jacob

William Landay ·  421 pages

Rating: (215.7K votes)


“At some point as adults we cease to be our parents' children and we become our children's parents instead.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“The interior of a teenager’s mind is an endless war between Stupid and Clever.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“An emotion is a thought, yes, an idea, but it is also a sensation, an ache in your body. Desire, love, hate, fear, repulsion - you feel these things in your muscle and bones, not just in your mind.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“Damage hardens us all. It will harden you too, when it finds you—and it will find you”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“no one worth knowing can be quite known, no one worth possessing can be quite possessed”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“...don't worry about how things look. People are going to think whatever they think. To hell with 'em. You can't worry about it.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“the act does not create guilt unless the mind is also guilty.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“At seventeen, I knew: my entire childhood had been just a prelude to this girl. I had never felt anything like it, and still haven't. I felt changed by her, physically.
I became a different person, myself, the person I am now. And everything that came after-my family, my home, our entire life together-was a gift she gave me.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“I have an idea that is is what enduring love really means, Your memories of a girl at seventeen become as real and vivid as the middle-aged woman sitting in front of you. It is a happy sort of double vision, this seeing and remembering. To be seen this way is to be known.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“I admit--no one worth knowing can be quite known, no one worth possessing can be quite possessed-”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“We are pattern-seeking, storytelling animals, and have been since we began drawing on cave walls.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“I rather doubt he had the sense to see the truth: that there are wounds worse than fatal, which the law's little binary distinctions-guilty/innocent, criminal/victim-cannot fathom, let alone fix. The law is a hammer, not a scalpel.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“But then, we all tell ourselves stories about ourselves. The money man tells himself that by getting rich he is actually enriching others, the artist tells himself that his creations are things of deathless beauty, the soldier tells himself he is on the side of the angels.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“The leopard in the zoo wanders to the edge of his pen and, through the bars or across an unjumpable moat, he stares at you with contempt for your inferiority, for needing that barrier between you. There is a shared understanding in that moment, nonverbal but no less real: the leopard is predator and you are prey, and it is only the barrier that permits us humans to feel superior and secure. That feeling, standing at the leopard’s cage, is edged with shame, at the animal’s superior strength, at his hauteur, his low estimation of you.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“You're staring.'
'You're my wife. I'm allowed to stare.'
'Is that the rule?'
'Yes. Stare, leer, ogle, anything I want. Trust me. I'm a lawyer.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“It was as if there was a place called After, and if I could just push my family across to that shore, then everything would be all right. There would be time for all these "soft" problems in the land of After.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“This is the best thing about men's friendships: most any awkwardness can be ignored by mutual agreement and, true connection being unimaginable, you can get on with the easier business of parallel living.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“The rest-the vast majority, tens of thousands of days-are unremarkable, repetitive, even monotonous. We glide through them then instantly forget them. We tend not to think about this arithmetic when we look back on our lives. We remember the handful of Big Days and throw away the rest.
We organize our long, shapeless lives into tidy little stories...But our lives are mostly made up of junk, of ordinary, forgettable days, and 'The End' is never the end.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“A good marriage drags a long tail of memory behind it. A single word or gesture, a tone of voice can conjure up so many remembrances.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“but good friendships require complementary personalities, not identical ones.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“I had a childish attraction to men of my father's generation, as if I still harbored a faint hope of being unorphaned, even at this late date.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“So I got on with the business of lawyering away at the evidence. Minimizing it. Defending Jacob.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“Damage hardens us all. It will harden you too, when it finds you—and it will find you.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“A jury verdict is just a guess - a well-intentioned guess, generally, but you simply cannot tell fact from fiction by taking a vote.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“I have an idea that this is what enduring love really means. Your memories of a girl at seventeen become as real and vivid as the middle-aged woman sitting in front of you. It is a happy sort of double vision, this seeing and remembering. To be seen this way is to be known.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“Every father knows the disconcerting when you see your child as a weird, distorted double of yourself. It is as if for a moment your identities overlap. You see an idea, a conception of your boyish inner self...made real and flesh.
He is you restarted, rewound; at the same time he is as foreign and unknowable as any other person.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“We’re not arguing. We’re discussing.” “You’re a lawyer; you don’t know the difference. I’m arguing.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


“You have to follow your intuition. That is what expertise is: all the experience, the cases won and lost, the painful mistakes, all the technical details you learn by rote repetition, over time these things leave you with an instinctive sense of your craft. A "gut" for it.”
― William Landay, quote from Defending Jacob


About the author

William Landay
Born place: Boston, The United States
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Popular quotes

“I had never seen her naked, I was embarrassed. Today I can say that it was the embarrassment of gazing with pleasure at her body, of being the not impartial witness of her sixteen-year-old's beauty a few hours before Stefano touched her, penetrated her, disfigured her, perhaps, by making her pregnant. At the time it was just a tumultuous sensation of necessary awkwardness, a state in which you cannot avert the gaze or take away the hand without recognizing your own turmoil, without, by that retreat, declaring it, hence without coming into conflict with the undisturbed innocence of the one who is the cause of the turmoil, without expressing by that rejection the violent emotion that overwhelms you, so that it forces you to stay, to rest your gaze on the childish shoulders, on the breasts and stiffly cold nipples, on the narrow hips and the tense buttocks, on the black sex, on the long legs, on the tender knees, on the curved ankles, on the elegant feet; and to act as if it's nothing, when instead everything is there, present, in the poor dim room, amid the worn furniture, on the uneven, water-stained floor, and your heart is agitated, your veins inflamed.”
― quote from My Brilliant Friend


“It is the body that possesses itself: Owning something means to be able to control it, and selfhood is intimately related to the very moment in which the body discovers that it can control itself—as a whole. It is exactly what happens when you wake up in the morning, when you “come to yourself.”
― Thomas Metzinger, quote from The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self


“The answer to all questions of life and death, "the absolute solution" was written all over the world he had known: it was like a traveller realising that the wild country he surveys is not an accidental assembly of natural phenomena, but the page in a book where these mountains and forests, and fields, and rivers are disposed in such a way as to form a coherent sentence; the vowel of a lake fusing with the consonant of a sibilant slope; the windings of a road writing its message in a round hand, as clear as that of one's father; trees conversing in dumb-show, making sense to one who has learnt the gestures of their language... Thus the traveller spells the landscape and its sense is disclosed, and likewise, the intricate pattern of human life turns out to be monogrammatic, now quite clear to the inner eye disentangling the interwoven letters. And the word, the meaning which appears is astounding in its simplicity: the greatest surprise being perhaps that in the course of one's earthly existence, with one's brain encompassed by an iron ring, by the close-fitting dream of one's own personality - one had not made by chance that simple mental jerk, which would have set free imprisoned thought and granted it the great understanding.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, quote from The Real Life of Sebastian Knight


“I was in control of every area of my life except for smoking. The cigarette was deciding where I could go, what I could do, when I could do it and with whom.”
― Allen Carr, quote from The Easy Way to Stop Smoking: Join the Millions Who Have Become Nonsmokers Using the Easyway Method


“that Dr. Morrissey had always said that we found excuses to put off doing something that would take our minds off our worries. It was as if we didn’t want to lose the luxury of worrying.”
― Maeve Binchy, quote from Heart and Soul


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