21+ quotes from Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman

Quotes from Seven Types of Ambiguity

Elliot Perlman ·  640 pages

Rating: (4.1K votes)


“You know you're in love with somebody when you wake up next to them, comfortable despite your breath smelling like the week-old water at the bottom of a vase, when you are terribly excited to see them, to talk to them again, having missed them after all that sleep. ”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“Hell is the special pain that dwells in that loss which you yourself have caused”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“It's like the smell of burned toast. You made the toast. You looked forward to it. You even enjoyed making it, but it burned. What were you doing? Was it your fault? It doesn't matter anymore. You open the window, but only the very top layer of the smell goes away. The rest remains around you. It's the walls. You leave the room, but it's on your clothes. You change your clothes, but it's in your hair. It's on the thin skin on the tops of your hand. And in the morning, it's still there.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“There's the ambiguity of human relationships, for instance. A relationship between two people, just like a sequence of words, is ambiguous if it is open to different interpretations. And if two people do have differing views about their relationship - I don't just mean about its state, I mean about its very nature - then that difference can affect the entire course of their lives.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“He sits in his car at traffic lights on his way out sometimes and tries to estimate how many times he has sat here, waiting at these traffic lights on his way somewhere without you, hoping to meet someone with the capacity to consign you to an anecdote, to be eventually confused with others”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“Perhaps people ought to feel with more imagination.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“The peculiar striations that define someone's personality are too numerous to know, no matter how close the observer. A person we think we know can suddenly become someone else when previously hidden strands of his character are called to the fore by circumstance.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“I hold him to my chest. My love for him is the only unequivocally good thing I know is always there inside of me. It is the reason I should be spared all that is coming, the only reason.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“You don't need to be seeing someone to be in love with her. You can have lost touch with her, she can have hurt you, even inexplicably. If you ever felt that you really knew her and that it was what you knew that you loved, and if you remember what it was you once knew, why is it so crazy to retain that love still?”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“He uses you as a weapon against himself and not merely because you did. He sits in his car at traffic lights on his way out sometimes and tries to estimate how many times he has sat here, waiting at these traffic lights on his way somewhere without you, hoping to meet someone with the capacity to consign you to an anecdote, to be eventually confused with others. He thinks of you when the woman lying next to him thinks he's asleep.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“Charisma will sustain a relationship only in the way that strong coffee first thing in the morning will sustain a career.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“He nearly called you again last night. Can you imagine that, after all this time? He can. He imagines calling you or running into you by chance. Depending on the weather, he imagines you in one of those cotton dresses of yours with flowers on it or in faded blue jeans and a thick woollen button-up cardigan over a checkered shirt, drinking coffee from a mug, looking through your tortoiseshell glasses at a book of poetry while it rains. He thinks of you with your hair tied back and the characteristic sweet scent on your neck. He imagines you this way when he is on the train, in the supermarket, at his parents' house, at night, alone, and when he is with a woman.

He is wrong, though. You didn't read poetry at all. He had wanted you to read poetry, but you didn't. If pressed, he confesses to an imprecise recollection of what it was you read and, anyway, it wasn't your reading that started this. It was the laughter, the carefree laughter, the three-dimensional Coca-Cola advertisement that you were, the try-anything-once friends, the imperviousness to all that came before you, the chain telephone calls, the in-jokes, the instant music, the sunlight you carried with you, the way he felt when you spoke to his parents, the introductory undergraduate courses, the inevitability of your success, the beach houses, ...”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“...Simon and I by then were practicing to be apart, rehearsing together in the same room and often in the same conversation.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“Listen- all that she was then, all that she is now, those gestures, everything I remember but won't or can't articulate anymore, the perfect words that are somehow made imperfect when used to describe her and all that should remain unsaid about her- it is all unsupported by reason. I know that. But that enigmatic calm that attaches itself to people in the presence of reason- it's something from which I haven't been able to take comfort, not reliably, not since her.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“We too often laughed at the same time to be a whore and a lonely guy.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“The reason his father has no time for poetry is that he is afraid of the messiness of life. Poetry feeds on all that spills over the boundaries of the usual things, the everyday things with which most people are obsessed, so William has no time for it.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“La habilidad para revivir estados emocionales del pasado es un talento a la vez que una maldición. Es una maldición porque no te permite seguir adelante con tu vida. Cada corte, cada moretón, cada rechazo produce una cosecha que luego se almacena. El dolor se guarda congelado y conserva el mismo sabor que tuvo el día que nos lo hicieron”.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“Steinbeck wasn't the thirties and Dickens wasn't the eighteen-hundreds. They were of their times but for the ages. Their writings are not products marketed for a brief time until they're out of vogue and discarded on the scrap heap.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“What he and many people don't understand is that there is more to depression than a sometimes overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and hopelessness and profound sadness. When people are depressed they are sometimes very, very angry. They are not just quietly miserable. They can be filled with great passion.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“When the words dance privately for you, it is possible to feel not alone.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


“While he recognized that you were unhappy and unwell, I think he couldn't help but feel that there was some part of you, some part bound inextricably to your illness, that everybody could do with a little more of. Not the melancholy, of course, or even the capacity for quips and one-liners ("Give me lithium or give me death," remember?). Perhaps it was just what he more than once described as a mixture in you of acuity and romanticism that made most other people's versions of sanity appear hollow compromises, or evasions.”
― Elliot Perlman, quote from Seven Types of Ambiguity


About the author

Elliot Perlman
Born place: in Melbourne, Australia
Born date May 7, 1964
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