Quotes from Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger ·  406 pages

Rating: (81.3K votes)


“There are several ways to react to being lost. One is to panic: this was usually Valentina's first impulse. Another is to abandon yourself to lostness, to allow the fact that you've misplaced yourself to change the way you experience the world.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Listen, sometimes when you finally find out, you realize that you were much better off not knowing.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“You're the oddest person I've ever met, you couldn't get rid of me if you tried.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“What is more basic than the need to be known? It is the entirety of intimacy, the elixir of love, this knowing.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Why do you have a cigarette lighter in your glove compartment?" her husband, Jack, asked her. "I'm bored with knitting. I've taken up arson”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry



“I'm bored with knitting. I've taken up arson.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Is it sad to fancy David Tennant when you're dead?”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“You didn’t answer my question. I asked you about being in love. You said what it was like when your wife went away.”
Martin sat down again. How young she is. When we were that young we invented the world, no one could tell us a thing. Julia stood with her hands clenched, as though she wanted to pound an answer out of him. “Being in love is…anxious,” he said. “Wanting to please, worrying that she will see me as I really am. But wanting to be known. That is…you’re naked, moaning in the dark, no dignity at all…I wanted her to see me and to love me even though she knew everything I am, and I knew her. Now she’s gone, and my knowledge is incomplete. So all day I imagine what she is doing, what she says and who she talks to, how she looks. I try to supply the missing hours, and it gets harder as they pile up, all the time she’s been gone. I have to imagine. I don’t know, really. I don’t know any more.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“He was not in the house. He did not come back that night. Days went by, and at last she understood that he would not return at all.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“That’s the thing about living vicariously; it’s so much faster than actual living.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry



“He thanked her and left the house in the mood of a shipwrecked man who has allowed the rescue ship to pass him by.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“He had never realized, while Elspeth was alive, the extent to which a thing had not completely happened until he told her about it.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“I’m curious about things that people aren’t supposed to see—so, for example, I liked going to the British Museum, but I would like it better if I could go into all the offices and storage rooms, I want to look in all the drawers and—discover stuff. And I want to know about people. I mean, I know it’s probably kind of rude but I want to know why you have all these boxes and what’s in them and why all your windows are papered over and how long it’s been that way and how do you feel when you wash things and why don’t you do something about it?”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Martin said, "It feels as though part of my self has detached and gone to Amsterdam, where it—she—is waiting for me. Do you know about phantom-limb syndrome?" Julia nodded. "There's pain where she ought to be. It's feeding the other pain, the thing that makes me wash and count and all that. So her absence is stopping me from going to find her. Do you see?”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Being in love is…anxious,” he said. “Wanting to please, worrying that she will see me as I really am. But wanting to be known. That is…you’re naked, moaning in the dark, no dignity at all…I wanted her to see me and to love me even though she knew everything I am, and I knew her”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry



“I think play must have been invented so we wouldn't go mad thinking about certain things.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“That’s the thing about living vicariously; it’s so much faster than actual living. In a few minutes we’ll be worrying about names for the children.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“The kissed surprised him because it had been so long since he'd kissed anyone but Elspeth. It surprised Valentina because she had hardly ever kissed anyone that way - to her, kissing had always been more theoretical than physical. Afterwards she stood with her eyes closed, lips parted, face tilted. Robert thought, She's going to break my heart and I'm going to let her.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“He would say her name over and over until it devolved into meaningless sounds - mah REI kuh, mah REI kuh - it became an entry in a dictionary of loneliness.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“I guess no matter what your family is like, you're not surprised.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry



“I don't want to boss anyone and I don't want to be bossed.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“In the dim light of the computer screen he seemed otherworldly; Julia thought him beautiful, though she knew it was the beauty of damage.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“That is what madness is, isn't it? All the wheels fly off the bus and things don't make sense any more. Or rather, they do, but it's not a kind of sense anyone else can understand.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“There was only the cemetery itself, spread out in the moonlight like a soft grey hallucination, a stony wilderness of Victorian melancholy.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Being in love is…anxious,” he said. “Wanting to please, worrying that she will see me as I really am. But wanting to be known. That is…you’re naked, moaning in the dark, no dignity at all…I wanted her to see me and to love me even though she knew everything I am, and I knew her.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry



“We're squirrels in human form, she whispered. And so are you.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Sometimes a thing is---too much---and it has to be isolated put away.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Not because they’re dead. Though unattainability is always attractive.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


“Each of them warmed to the sound of the other's voice. They lay in the dark together, in distant cities, each of them thinking, We were lucky this time. And they pressed their phones closer to their ears, and both of them wondered how much longer this separation could go on.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, quote from Her Fearful Symmetry


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About the author

Audrey Niffenegger
Born place: in The United States
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