Quotes from The Invention of Solitude

Paul Auster ·  192 pages

Rating: (8.2K votes)


“The pen will never be able to move fast enough to write down every word discovered in the space of memory. Some things have been lost forever, other things will perhaps be remembered again, and still other things have been lost and found and lost again. There is no way to be sure of any this.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“Every book is an image of solitude. It is a tangible object that one can pick up, put down, open, and close, and its words represent many months if not many years, of one man’s solitude, so that with each word one reads in a book one might say to himself that he is confronting a particle of that solitude”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“Solitary. But not in the sense of being alone. Not solitary in the way Thoreau was, for example, exiling himself in order to find out where he was; not solitary in the way Jonah was, praying for deliverance in the belly of the whale. Solitary in the sense of retreat. In the sense of not having to see himself, of not having to see himself being seen by anyone else.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“Impossible, I realize, to enter another’s solitude. If it is true that we can ever come to know another human being, even to a small degree, it is only to the extent that he is willing to make himself known. A man will say: I am cold. Or else he will say nothing, and we will see him shivering. Either way, we will know that he is cold. But what of the man who says nothing and does not shiver? Where all is intractable, here all is hermetic and evasive, one can do no more than observe. But whether one can make sense of what he observes is another matter entirely”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“It was. It will never be again. Remember.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude



“لا يوجد ما هو أفظع من مواجهة متعلقات رجل ميت. لها حياة ومعنى بحياته، وعندما تنتهي حياة الإنسان تتغير طبيعة أشياءه للأبد.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“We are left with nothing but death, the irreducible fact of our own mortality. Death after a long illness we can accept with resignation. Even accidental death we can ascribe to fate. But for a man to die of no apparent cause, for a man to die simply because he is a man, brings us so close to the invisible boundary between life and death that we no longer know which side we are on. Life becomes death, and it is as if this death has owned this life all along. Death without warning. Which is to say: life stops. And it can stop at any moment.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“There is nothing more terrible, I learned, than having to face the objects of a dead man. Things are inert: that have meaning only in function of the life that makes use of them. When that life ends, the things change, even though they remain the same. […] they say something to us, standing there not as objects but as remnants of thought, of consciousness, emblems of the solitude in which a man comes to make decisions about himself.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“It was never possible for him to be where he was. For as long as he lived, he was somewhere else, between here and there. But never really here. And never really there.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“Just because you wander in the desert, it does not mean there is a promised land.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude



“For a man who finds life tolerable only by staying on the surface of himself, it is natural to be satisfied with offering no more than his surface to others. There are few demands to be met, and no commitment is required. Marriage, on the other hand, closes the door. Your existence is confined to a narrow space in which you are constantly forced to reveal yourself – and therefore, constantly obliged to look into yourself, to examine your own depths.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“في منزل والدي كان الهاتف يرن يوميا ٢٠ مرة، ولـ ٢٠ مرة يوميا أخبرت أحدهم بأنه ميّت". ”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“And if Amsterdam was hell, and if hell was a memory, then he realized that perhaps there was some purpose to his being lost. Cut off from everything that was familiar to him, unable to discover even a single point of reference, he saw that his steps, by taking him nowhere, were taking him him nowhere but into himself. He was wandering inside himself, and he was lost. Far from troubling him, this state of being lost because a source of happiness, of exhilaration. He breathed it into his very bones. As if on the brink of some previously hidden knowledge, he breathed it into his very bones and said to himself, almost triumphantly: I am lost.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“رجل يجد الحياة قابلة للعيش على "سطح" نفسه، من الطبيعي جداً أن يكتفي بإظهار "سطحه" للآخرين.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“that each ejaculation contains several billion sperm cells –or roughly the same number as there are people in the world– which means that, in himself, each man holds the potential of an entire world. And what would happen, could it happen, is the full range of possibilities: a spawn of idiots and geniuses, of the beautiful and the deformed, of saints, catatonics, thieves, stock brokers, and high-wire artists. Each man, therefore, is the entire world, bearing within his genes a memory of all mankind. Or, as Leibniz put it: “Every living substance is a perpetual living mirror of the universe.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude



“Paintings. Or the collapse of time in images.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“بعد وفاة والدي بأيام وقعت أسوأ اللحظات التي مررت بها، كنت اعبر الباحة الامامية للمنزل تحت المطر الغزير المنهمر، أحمل في يدي مجموعة من ربطات العنق التي امتلكها، حوالي مائة ربطة عنق أو تزيد، تذكرت بعضها من طفولتي، النقوش، الألوان، الاشكال، لقد طبعت في ذاكرتي وضميري منذ أيامي الأولى. القيت بها في صندوق كبير للتبرعات، وفي تلك اللحظة بالذات بكيت، بكيت والدي. كان القاء ربطات العنق في الصندوق الضخم أشدّ علي من النظر لتابوته وهو ينخفض في الارض، القاء ربطات العنق كان أشبه بالدفن. حينها وأخيراً أدركت بأن والدي .. قد مات.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“He finds it extraordinary that on some mornings, just after he has woken up, as he bends down to tie his shoes, he is flooded with a happiness so intense, a happiness so naturally and harmoniously at one with the world, that he can feel himself alive in the present, a present that surrounds him and permeates him, that breaks through him with the sudden, overwhelming knowledge that he is alive. And the happiness he discovers in himself at that moment is extraordinary.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“The point is: his life was not centered around the place where he lived. His house was just one of many stopping places in a restless, unmoored existence, and this lack of center had the effect of turning him into a perpetual outsider, a tourist of his own life. You never had the feeling that he could be located.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“And then one day the walls of your house finally collapse. If the door is still standing, however, all you have to do is walk through it,and you are back inside. It's pleasant sleeping out under the stars. Never mind the rain. It can't last very long.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude



“One day there is life . . . and then, suddenly, it happens there is death”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“Memory, therefore, not simply as the resurrection of one’s private past, but an immersion in the past of others, which is to say: history - which one both participates in and is a witness to, is a part of and apart from. Everything, therefore, is present in his mind at once, as if each element were reflecting the light of all the others, and at the same time emitting its own unique and unquenchable radiance.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“كان يكذب كلما شارف على إظهار نفسه بوضوح، يكذب ويسرف ويدللّ كذبته. على أية حال كان الحل ألا يقول إلا القليل عن نفسه كل مرة”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“Language, then, not simply as a list of separate things to be added up and whose sum total is equal to the world. Rather, language as it is laid out in the dictionary: an infinitely complex organism, all of whose elements […] are present in the world simultaneously, none of which can exist on its own. For each word is defined by other words, which means that to enter any part of language is to enter the whole of it”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“حتى الوقائع قد لا تقول الحقيقة دائمًا.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude



“Nevertheless, this is where it begins. The first word appears only at a moment when nothing can be explained anymore, at some instant of experience that defies all sense. To be reduced to saying nothing. Or else, to say himself: this is what haunts me. And then to realize, almost in the same breath, that this is what he haunts.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“It is also true that memory sometimes comes to him as a voice. It is a voice that speaks inside him, and it is not necessarily his own. It speaks to him in the way a voice might tell stories to a child, and yet at times this voice makes fun of him, or calls him to attention, or curses him in no uncertain terms. At times it willfully distorts the story it is telling him, changing the facts to suit its whims, catering to the interests of drama rather than truth. Then he must speak to it in his own voice and tell it to stop, thus returning it to the silence it came from. At other times it sings to him. At still other times it whispers. And then there are the times it merely hums, or babbles, or cries out in pain. And even when it says nothing, he knows it is still there, and in the silence of this voice that says nothing, he waits for it to speak.”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“What people saw when he appeared before them, then, was not really him, but a person he had invented, an artificial creature he could manipulate in order to manipulate others. He himself remained invisible, a puppeteer working the strings of his alter-ego from a dark, solitary place behind the curtain”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“توافد أقارب والدي من كل مكان، نريد قطعة الأثاث هذه،نريد هذه الآنية الفضية وبعضهم كان يرتدي ملابسه لتجربتها ويثرثرون مثل البجع".”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude


“سيشعرك بأنه ما من شيء يستفزه، وأنه لا يحتاج لأي شيء يقدمه هذا العالم. رجل بلا شهية." ”
― Paul Auster, quote from The Invention of Solitude



About the author

Paul Auster
Born place: in Newark, New Jersey, The United States
Born date February 3, 1947
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