Kevin Brockmeier · 252 pages
Rating: (9.8K votes)
“Dreaming was easier than screaming, and screaming was easier than worrying, and worrying was easier than crying, which was what she knew she would be reduced to if she didn’t keep a hard eye on herself.”
“Anyone who has ever experienced love knows that you can have too much or too little. You can have love that parches, love that defeats. You can have love measured out in the wrong proportions. It's like your sunlight and water - the wrong kind of love is just as likely to stifle hope as it is to nourish it.”
“The living carry us inside them like pearls. We survive only so long as they remember us.”
“I stopped and asked him if he was all right, and he said he was tired of remembering everything he wanted to forget and forgetting everything he wanted to remember.”
“It's like you're born with all these blessings, only you don't realize they're blessings until you lose them. And if you're thick-headed enough, like me, you don't even realize you've lost them, not until they come back to you.”
“But love doesn't always generate hope. Anyone who has ever experienced love knows that you can have too much love or too little. You can have love that parches, love that defeats. You can have love measured out in the wrong proportions. It's like your sunlight and water--the wrong kind of love is just as likely to stifle hope as it is to nourish it.”
“Was that what it meant to be alive - moving from a brightly lit corridor into a darkened room at every step? Sometimes it felt that way.”
“Man African societies divide humans into 3 categories: those still alive on the earth, the sasha, and the zamani. The recently departed whose time on earth overlapped with people still here are the sasha, the living-dead. They are not wholly dead, for they still live in the memories of the living, who can call them to mind, create their likeness in art, and bring them to life in anecdote. When the last person to know an ancestor dies, that ancestor leaves the sasha for the zamani, the dead. As generalized ancestors, the zamani are not forgotten but revered. Many...can be recalled by name. But they are not living-dead. There is a difference.”
“For a long time that had seemed to her to be the key to life: Life--real life--was just a solitude waiting to be transfigured.”
“The game had to be played the same way every day or the pieces would fall to the floor, the board would collapse, and the illusion that you were shaping your own life, that you were in control, would break.”
“She felt for a moment the child's guilt and panic that she was to blame for something-for finally getting to know him. She that it wasn't the getting to know him part that would convict her in the end. It was the finally.”
“But why did he remember only the things in life that had hurt him? Why couldn't he remember the things that had given him joy or caused him to smile: the jokes he had heard, the songs that had made him lift his arms in the air, the people who had loved him, whose cheeks he had touched with his fingers?”
“For a long time that had seemed to her to be the key to life: Life--real life--was just a solitude waiting to be transfigured. If Phillip was with her, the solitude she needed would be shattered, and along with it whatever wondrous thing might have come her way if she had been alone.”
“The incident made her remember the story she had heard about the girl who was raised in a room with no horizontal lines. She couldn't recall whether the story was true or simply a thought experiment, but the room, as she remembered it, was decorated with a series of black verticle stripes on the walls, and the floor and ceiling were curved to give the illusion that the verticle stripes were continuous. On the child's first birthday, the story went, she was taken out of the room. She had learned how to recognize verticle forms, but not horizontal ones, so that if she was situated on a table, say, or a platform, she would crawl right off the edge, but she would never run into the corner of a wall or the leg of a chair. Her condition lasted for about a month before her visual sense finally corrected itself.”
“The people were created in the image of God and thus they were within the precinct of His grace, even the ones who didn't know Him...the ones who withdrew themselves from His presence.”
“People say they want to die in their own home. But me, I was ready for the hospital. The sterilized sheets, the machines, the whole bit. It just seemed easier there. Easier to cast myself off, I mean.”
“Aaron Warner Anderson, chief commander and regent of Sector 45, son of the supreme commander of The Reestablishment.
He has a soft spot for fashion.”
“It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It's never occurred to me before; I've never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.”
“But there was another, secret Ruby. This one was as thin as a wisp of air, and had struggled for so long just to be. This was the one that Liam carried with him, without knowing. The one that would ride in his back pocket, whisper words of encouragement, tell him he was born to chase the light.”
“We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.”
“I don't believe in coincidences."
"Neither do I. That's a coincidence, isn't it?”
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