Quotes from The Accidental Tourist

Anne Tyler ·  352 pages

Rating: (85.4K votes)


“I'm beginning to think that maybe it's not just how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you're with them.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“It is not how much you love someone, but who you are when you are with him.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“There is no sound more peaceful than rain on the roof, if you're safe asleep in someone else's house.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“You ever wonder what a Martian might think if he happened to land near an emergency room? He’d see an ambulance whizzing in and everybody running out to meet it, tearing the doors open, grabbing up the stretcher, scurrying along with it. ‘Why,’ he’d say, ‘what a helpful planet, what kind and helpful creatures.’ He’d never guess we’re not always that way; that we had to, oh, put aside our natural selves to do it. ‘What a helpful race of beings,’ a Martian would say. Don’t you think so?”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“She opened her eyes and studied him a moment. Then she slipped her hand in her pocket, come up with something and held it toward him - palming it, like a secret. "For you," she said.
"For me?"
"I'd like you to have it."
It was a snapshot stolen from her family album: Muriel as a toddler, clambering out of a wading pool.
She meant, he supposed, to give him the best of her. And so she had. But the best of her was not that cild's Shirley Temple hairdo. It was her fierceness as she fought her way toward the camera with her chin set awry and her eyes bright slits of determination. He yhanked her. He said he would keep it forever.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“seven.
seven was when ethan had learned to ride a bicycle.
macon was visited by one of those memories that dent the skin, that strain the muscles. he felt the seat of ethan's bike pressing into his hand--the curled-under edge at the rear that you hold onto when you're trying to keep a bicycle upright. he felt the sidewalk slapping against his soles as he ran. he felt himself let go, slow to a walk, stop with his hands on his hips to call out, "you've got her now! you've got her!" and ethan rode away from him, strong and proud and straight-backed, his hair picking up the light till he passed beneath and oak tree. ”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“What did Ethan care? _He_ had no trouble navigating. This was because he’d lived all his life in one house, was Macon’s theory; while a person who’d been moved around a great deal never acquired a fixed point of reference but wandered forever in a fog — adrift upon the planet, helpless, praying that just by luck he might stumble across his destination.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“He wanted to say, Muriel, forgive me, but since my son died, sex has... turned. (As milk turns; that was how he thought of it. As milk will alter its basic nature and turn sour.) I really don't think of it anymore. I honestly don't. I can't imagine anymore what all that fuss was about. Now it seems pathetic.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“But his study was so dim and close, and it gave off the salty inky smell of mental fidgeting.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“Disaster followed disaster... the hero stuck in there, though. Macon had long ago noticed that all adventure movies had the same moral: Perseverance pays. Just once he'd like to see a hero like himself -- not a quitter, but a man who did face facts and give up gracefully when pushing on was foolish.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“...that was Julian for you: reckless. A dashing sailor, a speedy driver, a frequenter of single bars, he was the kind of man who would make a purchase without consulting _Consumer Reports_.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“Just think how it would look if a reader walked into a café you'd recommended and found it taken over by vegetarians.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“Rose had a kitchen that was so completely alphabetized, you’d find the allspice next to the ant poison. She was a fine one to talk about the Leary men.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“A Japanese man festooned with cameras, a nun, a young girl in braids.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“The real adventure, he thought, is the flow of time; it’s as much adventure as anyone could wish.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“While the train racketed along, he sorted his currency into envelopes that he’d brought from home—each envelope clearly marked with a different denomination. (No fumbling with unfamiliar coins, no peering at misleading imprints, if you separate and classify foreign money ahead of time.)”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“Plenty of other books say how to see as much of the city as possible,” his boss had told him. “You should say how to see as little.”)”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“narrowly missed connections. They were like people who run to meet, holding out their arms, but their aim is wrong; they pass each other and keep running. It had all amounted to nothing, in the end.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“he had developed a system that enabled him to sleep in clean sheets every night without the trouble of bed changing. He’d been proposing the system to Sarah for years, but she was so set in her ways. What he did was strip the mattress of all linens, replacing them with a giant sort of envelope made from one of the seven sheets he had folded and stitched together on the sewing machine. He thought of this invention as a Macon Leary Body Bag. A body bag required no tucking in, was unmussable, easily changeable, and the perfect weight for summer nights. In winter he would have to devise something warmer, but he couldn’t think of winter yet. He was barely making it from one day to the next as it was. At moments—while he was skidding”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“system that enabled him to sleep in clean sheets every night without the trouble of bed changing. He’d been proposing the system to Sarah for years, but she was so set in her ways. What he did was strip the mattress of all linens, replacing them with a giant sort of envelope made from one of the seven sheets he had folded and stitched together on the sewing machine. He thought of this invention as a Macon Leary Body Bag. A body bag required no tucking in, was unmussable, easily changeable, and the perfect weight for summer nights.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“he wrote a series of guidebooks for people forced to travel on business. Ridiculous, when you thought about it: Macon hated travel.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“As much as he hated the travel, he loved the writing—the virtuous delights of organizing a disorganized country, stripping away the inessential and the second-rate, classifying all that remained in neat, terse paragraphs. He cribbed from other guidebooks, seizing small kernels of value and discarding the rest.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“you don’t have to bend over backwards, either, and go asking her to dinner or something. She does have a family of her own. You’re supposed to take my side in this.” “I thought you didn’t want us to take sides.” “No, no, I don’t. I mean you shouldn’t take her side, is what I’m trying to say.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“One Thanksgiving Porter and June were getting ready to leave, back when their children were small, and June was heading toward the door with the baby in her arms and Danny hanging onto her coat and this load of toys and supplies when Porter called out, ‘Halt!’ and started reading from one of those cash-register tapes that he always writes his lists on: blanket, bottles, diaper bag, formula out of the fridge … June just looked over at the other two and rolled her eyes.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“flossing his teeth. He couldn’t go to bed without flossing his teeth. For some reason, Sarah had found this irritating. If Macon were condemned to death, she’d said once, and they told him he’d be executed by firing squad at dawn, he would no doubt still insist on flossing the night before. Macon, after thinking it over, had agreed.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“Just once he’d like to see a hero like himself—not a quitter, but a man who did face facts and give up gracefully when pushing onward was foolish. He”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“The cat made a comma of sweat across his bare thighs.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“(Always bring a book, as protection against strangers. Magazines don’t last. Newspapers from home will make you homesick, and newspapers from elsewhere will remind you you don’t belong. You know how alien another paper’s typeface seems.)”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


“He ate an apple and a little box of raisins from his bag, drank the milk, and went off to the lavatory to floss and brush his teeth.”
― Anne Tyler, quote from The Accidental Tourist


About the author

Anne Tyler
Born place: in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The United States
Born date October 25, 1941
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