Jonathan Safran Foer · 276 pages
Rating: (149.7K votes)
“It was not the feeling of completeness I so needed, but the feeling of not being empty.”
“He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others--the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. And by the midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad.”
“She was a genius of sadness, immersing herself in it, separating its numerous strands, appreciating its subtle nuances. She was a prism through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum.”
“If there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it walls, and we will furnish it with soft, red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweller's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does.”
“One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family.”
“This is love, she thought, isn't it? When you notice someone's absence and hate that absence more than anything? More, even, than you love his presence?”
“Do you think I'm wonderful? she asked him one day as they leaned against the trunk of a petrified maple. No, he said. Why? Because so many girls are wonderful. I imagine hundreds of men have called their loves wonderful today, and it's only noon. You couldn't be something that hundreds of others are.”
“I don't think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem.”
“The more you love someone, he came to think, the harder it is to tell them. It surprised him that strangers didn't stop each other on the street to say I love you.”
“I am always sad, I think. Perhaps this signifies that I am not sad at all, because sadness is something lower than your normal disposition, and I am always the same thing. Perhaps I am the only person in the world, then, who never becomes sad. Perhaps I am lucky.”
“I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others -- The only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad.”
“The only thing more painful than being an active forgetter is to be an inert rememberer.”
“The bruises go away, and so does how you hate, and so does the feeling that everything you receive from life is something you have earned.”
“Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does.”
“You are the only one who has understood even a whisper of me, and I will tell you that I am the only person who has understood even a whisper of you.”
“She was like a drowning person, flailing, reaching for anything that might save her. Her life was an urgent, desperate struggle to justify her life.”
“With writing, we have second chances.”
“I imagine a line, a white line, painted on the sand and on the ocean, from me to you.”
“I am doing something I hate for you. This is what it means to be in love.”
“When I was a girl, my life was music that was always getting louder.
Everything moved me. A dog following a stranger. That made me feel so much. A calendar that showed the wrong month. I could have cried over it. I did. Where the smoke from a chimney ended. How an overturned bottle rested at the edge of a table.
I spent my life learning to feel less.
Every day I felt less.
Is that growing old? Or is it something worse?
You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
“SADNESS OF THE INTELLECT: Sadness of being misunderstood [sic]; Humor sadness; Sadness of love wit[hou]t release; Sadne[ss of be]ing smart; Sadness of not knowing enough words to [express what you mean]; Sadness of having options; Sadness of wanting sadness; Sadness of confusion; Sadness of domes[tic]ated birds, Sadness of fini[shi]ng a book; Sadness of remembering; Sadness of forgetting; Anxiety sadness...”
“The only way to overcome sadness is to consume it. ”
“She has become an expert at confusing what is with what was with what should be with what could be.”
“Everything is to protect you. I exist in case you need to be protected.”
“Words never mean what we want them to mean.”
“If we communicated with something like music, we would never be misunderstood, because there is nothing in music to understand...... But until we find this new way of speaking, until we can find a nonapproximate vocabulary, nonsense words are the best thing we've got. Ifactifice is one such word.”
“(What are your ghosts like?)
(They are on the insides of the lids of my eyes.)
(This is also where my ghosts reside.)
(You have ghosts?)
(Of course I have ghosts.)
(But you are a child.)
(I am not a child.)
(But you have not known love.)
(These are my ghosts, the spaces amid love.)”
“The end of the world has come often, and continues to come.”
“Don’t focus on the mishaps; consider the pleasures instead.”
“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They are in each other all along,”
“But when I open them up, I find that they’re equal! And they both have achieved the same destiny: my zinc gurney. Why, then, did he tire himself out poring over so many books? Boh! Take my advice, journalist: eat, drink, and enjoy yourself—”
“Programming is not about what you know.
It's about what you can figure out.”
“It looked up at them with animal-like intelligence, arching its back as it prepared to leap. “A ghoul!” Sion shouted. The robed skeleton waved its hand, and the doors slammed shut with an ominous boom, locking them in. Then Richter heard something even more disturbing from his Companion. “Fuck my life!”
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