“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.”
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”
“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
“He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”
“A DEFINITION NOT FOUND
IN THE DICTIONARY
Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
often deciphered by children”
“She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Leisel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist's suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers...She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on...”
“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”
“Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. "I'm okay" we say. "I'm alright". But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can't get it off. That's when you realize that sometimes it isn't even an answer--it's a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.”
“He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world.
She was the book thief without the words.
Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”
“If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter. ”
“How about a kiss, Saumensch?"
He stood waist-deep in the water for a few moments longer before climbing out and handing her the book. His pants clung to him, and he did not stop walking. In truth, I think he was afraid. Rudy Steiner was scared of the book thief's kiss. He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.”
“Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.”
“The consequence of this is that I'm always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. (Death)”
“She was saying goodbye and she didn't even know it.”
“A small fact:
You are going to die....does this worry you?”
“I have to say that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there.”
“Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.”
“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it's quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.”
“One was a book thief. The other stole the sky.”
“Hair the color of lemons,'" Rudy read. His fingers touched the words. "You told him about me?"
At first, Liesel could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always loved him? It's likely. Restricted as she was from speaking, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to drag her hand across and pull her over. It didn't matter where. Her mouth, her neck, her cheek. Her skin was empty for it, waiting.
Years ago, when they'd raced on a muddy field, Rudy was a hastily assembled set of bones, with a jagged, rocky smile. In the trees this afternoon, he was a giver of bread and teddy bears. He was a triple Hitler Youth athletics champion. He was her best friend. And he was a month from his death.
Of course I told him about you," Liesel said.”
“Give a thing a name and it will somehow come to be.”
“Las realidades del mundo terrestre me afectaron como visiones, sólo como visiones, mientras las extrañas ideas del mundo de los sueños, por el contrario, se tornaron no en materia de mi existencia cotidiana, sino realmente en mi cínica y total existencia.”
“I was brought up,' Freddy informed him, 'not to suffer anxiety about decisive initiative of all types.”
“The Bostonians is special because it never was ‘titivated’ for the New York edition, for its humour and its physicality, for its direct engagement with social and political issues and the way it dramatized them, and finally for the extent to which its setting and action involved the author and his sense of himself. But the passage above suggests one other source of its unique quality. It has been called a comedy and a satire – which it is. But it is also a tragedy, and a moving one at that. If its freshness, humour, physicality and political relevance all combine to make it a peculiarly accessible and enjoyable novel, it is also an upsetting and disturbing one, not simply in its treatment of Olive, but also of what she tries to stand for. (Miss Birdseye is an important figure in this respect: built up and knocked down as she is almost by fits and starts.) The book’s jaundiced view of what Verena calls ‘the Heart of humanity’ (chapter 28) – reform, progress and the liberal collectivism which seems so essential an ingredient in modern democracy – makes it contentious to this day. An aura of scepticism about the entire political process hangs about it: salutary some may say; destructive according to others. And so, more than any other novel of James’s, it reminds us of the literature of our own time. The Bostonians is one of the most brilliant novels in the English language, as F. R. Leavis remarked;27 but it is also one of the bleakest. In no other novel did James reveal more of himself, his society and his era, and of the human condition, caught as it is between the blind necessity of progress and the urge to retain the old. It is a remarkably experimental modern novel, written by a man of conservative values. It is judgemental about people with whom its author identified, and lenient towards attitudes hostile to large areas of James’s own intellectual and personal inheritance. The strength of the contradictions embodied in the novel are a guarantee of the pleasure it has to give.”
“The sin of smiling whilst Louise was weeping, the sin of shedding my own tears and not hers. The sin of being another being.”
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