Quotes from Motherless Brooklyn

Jonathan Lethem ·  311 pages

Rating: (26.3K votes)


“Insomnia is a variant of Tourette's--the waking brain races, sampling the world after the world has turned away, touching it everywhere, refusing to settle, to join the collective nod. The insomniac brain is a sort of conspiracy theorist as well, believing too much in its own paranoiac importance--as though if it were to blink, then doze, the world might be overrun by some encroaching calamity, which its obsessive musings are somehow fending off.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Someday I'd change my name to Shut Up and save everybody a lot of time.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Consensual reality is both fragile and elastic, and it heals like the skin of a bubble.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Enough of this. Does every conversation with you have to be the director's cut? Get out of the car.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“A shadow strolled past the car, indifferent to our curbside melodrama. This was my second time imperiled in a a parked vehicle in the space of three hours. I wondered what goonish spectacles I'd overlooked in my own career as a pavement walker.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“She craned up on her toes and kissed my cheek..."Don't do that", I said. "You just met me. This is New York.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Tourette's is just one big lifetime of tag, really. The world (or my brain---same thing) appoints me it, again and again. So I tag back. Can it do otherwise? If you've ever been it you know the answer.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“The wind was picking up off the ocean now and the whole coastal scene had a bleak, abandoned look, as though Maine in November really belonged to the ragged gulls who wheeled over the sun-worn pier, and the humans had just gotten the news and taken a powder.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“I'm tightly wound. I'm a loose cannon. Both - I'm a tightly wound loose cannon, a tight loose.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“I'm always serious. That's the tragedy of my life.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“There is nothing Tourettic about the New York City subways.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“How strange it began to seem that cars have bodies that never are supposed to touch, a disaster if they do.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Have you ever felt, in the course of reading a detective novel, a guilty thrill of relief at having a character murdered before he can step onto the page and burden you with his actual existence? Detective stories always have too many characters anyway. And characters mentioned early on but never sighted, just lingering offstage, take on an awful portentous quality. Better to have them gone.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“He was permanently impressed by the most irrelevant banalities and impossible to impress with real novelty, meaning, or conflict. And he was too moronic to be properly self-loathing--so it was my duty to loathe him instead.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Once I had it free, I gobbled the sandwich like a nature-film otter cracking an oyster on its stomach: knees up in the wiring under the dashboard, my elbows jammed against the steering wheel, my chest serving as a table, my shirt as a tablecloth.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Waves, sky, trees, Essrog - I was off the page now, away from the grammar of skyscrapers and pavement.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“…Carlotta hovered over us as we devoured her meatballs, running her floury fingers over the backs of our chairs, then gently touching our heads, the napes of our necks. We pretended not to notice, ashamed in front of one another and ourselves to show that we drank in her nurturance as eagerly as her meat sauce.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Prince's music calmed me as much as masturbation or a cheeseburger.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


“Guilt wants to cover all the bases, be everywhere at once, reach into the past to tweak, neaten and repair. Guilt like Tourettic utterance flows uselessly, inelegantly from one helpless human to another, contemptuous of perimeters, doomed to be mistaken or refused on delivery.”
― Jonathan Lethem, quote from Motherless Brooklyn


About the author

Jonathan Lethem
Born place: in Brooklyn, New York, The United States
Born date February 19, 1964
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“But I don't know, maybe it's just as well I never got there. I dreamed about it for so many years. I used to go to English movies just to look at the streets. I remember years ago a guy I knew told me that people going to England find exactly what they go looking for. I said I'd go looking for the England of English Literature, and he nodded and said: "It's there.”
― Helene Hanff, quote from 84, Charing Cross Road


“Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you - sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.”
― Lauren Oliver, quote from Pandemonium


“I am more than my scars.”
― Andrew Davidson, quote from The Gargoyle


“As you care less about what people think of you, you will care more about what others think of themselves.”
― Stephen R. Covey, quote from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change


“And in that moment, everything I knew to be true about myself up until then was gone. I was acting like another woman, yet I was more myself than ever before.”
― Robert James Waller, quote from The Bridges of Madison County


Interesting books

The Vile Village
(102K)
The Vile Village
by Lemony Snicket
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
(48.5K)
Fragile Things: Shor...
by Neil Gaiman
Eight Cousins
(31.6K)
Eight Cousins
by Louisa May Alcott
Friday Night Bites
(40.6K)
Friday Night Bites
by Chloe Neill
A Hat Full of Sky
(52.1K)
A Hat Full of Sky
by Terry Pratchett
The Distance Between Us
(51K)
The Distance Between...
by Kasie West

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.