Giorgio Bassani · 246 pages
Rating: (4.8K votes)
“In life, if one wants seriously to understand how the world works, he must die at least once.”
“Even in a city as small as Ferrara, you can manage, if you like, to disappear for years and years, one from another, living side by side like the dead”
“How many years have passed since that far-off June afternoon? More than thirty. And yet, if I close my eyes, Micòl Finzi-Contini is still there, leaning over her garden wall, looking at me and talking to me. In 1929 Micòl was little more than a child, a thin, blond thirteen-year old with large, clear, magnetic eyes. And I was a boy in short trousers, very bourgeois and very vain, whom a small academic setback was sufficient to cast down into the most childish desperation. We both fixed our eyes on each other. Above her head the sky was a compact blue, a warm already summer sky without the slightest cloud. Nothing, it seemed, would be able to alter it, and nothing indeed has altered it, at least in memory.”
“ 'You said we were exactly alike,' I spoke again. 'In what way?'
But yes, yes we are — she exclaimed —in the way, like you, I've no access to that instinctive enjoyment of things that's typical of normal people. She could sense it very clearly: for me, no less than for her, the past counted far more than the present, remembering something far more than possessing it. Compared to memory, every possession can only ever seem disappointing, banal, inadequate...She understood me so well! My anxiety that the present 'immediately' turned into the past so that I could love it and dream about it at leisure was just like hers, was identical. It was 'our' vice, this: to go forwards with our heads forever turned back.”
“Tenendosi a braccetto, alcune ragazze formavano a volte delle catene tutte femminili di cinque o sei. Strane, mi dicevo, guardandole. Nell'attimo che le incrociavamo, scrutavano attraverso i cristalli coi loro occhi ridenti, nei quali la curiosità si mescolava a una specie di bizzarro orgoglio, di disprezzo appena simulato. Davvero strane. Belle e Libere.”
“If only I'd done it then, when I should have, everything would have been easy. What a joke.”
“ That night I spent in turmoil. Fitfully, I slept, I woke up, I slept again, and every time I slept I kept on dreaming of Micòl.
I dreamt, for example, of finding myself, just like that very first day I set foot in the garden, watching her play tennis with Alberto. Even in the dream I never took my eyes off her for a second. I kept on telling myself how wonderful she was, flushed and covered with sweat, with that frown of almost fierce concentration that divided her forehead, all tensed up as she was with the effort to beat her smiling, slightly bored and sluggish older brother. Yet then I felt oppressed by an uneasiness, an embittered feeling, an almost unbearable ache.”
“One of the most odious forms of anti-Semitism was precisely this: to complain that Jews aren't sufficiently like other people, and then, the opposite, once they've become almost totally assimilated with their surroundings, to complain that they're just like everybody else, not even a fraction distinguished from the average.”
“She just kept on criticizing me, but for contradictory reasons.”
“Only enter a fight if you are ready to finish the fight, by disabling or killing your opponent. Only run if you are ready to be chased. Only allow yourself to be chased if you are able to finish the chase with another fight. Do not waste time or energy.” A question popped into my mind. “What if I can just avoid the opponent completely?” “Avoidance is another word for running,”
“I want to want to try to never waste energy degrading someone else. Also, I want to try not to see life as a competition.”
“Children need time to become themselves--through play and social interaction. If you overwhelm a child with stuff--with choices and pseudochoices--before they are ready, they will only know one emotional gesture: More!”
“He wiped out Jericho, and He saved a harlot. What kind of God was this? He seemed at once impossibly holy and ridiculously merciful. How could you tie those two incongruities together? Rahab”
“case they don’t have them where you live, Sizzler is a restaurant chain specializing in steak and seafood priced so low it’s hard not to worry. 4”
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.