Quotes from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Rachel Joyce ·  352 pages

Rating: (16.3K votes)


“All these years I thought a piece of my life was missing. But it was there all along. It was there when I sat beside you in your car and you began to drive. It was there when I sang backwards and you laughed or I made a picnic and you ate every crumb. It was there when you told me you liked my brown suit, when you opened the door for me, when you asked once if I would like to take the long road home. It came later in my garden. When I looked at the sun and saw it glow on my hands. When a rosebud appeared where there had not been one before. It was in the people who stopped and talked of this and that over the garden wall. And just when I thought my life was done, it came time and time again at the hospice. It has been everywhere, my happiness – when my mother sang for me to dance, when my father took my hand to keep me safe – but it was such a small, plain thing that I mistook it for something ordinary and failed to see. We expect our happiness to come with a sign and bells, but it doesn’t.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“I found out what was right only by getting it wrong.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Sometimes you can love something not because you instinctively connect with it but because another person does, and keeping their things in your heart takes you back to them.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“We write ourselves certain parts and then keep playing them as if we have no choice. But a tardy person can become a punctual one, if she chooses. You don’t have to keep being the thing you have become. It is never too late.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Sometimes you cannot clear the past completely. You must live alongside your sorrow.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy



“Sometimes, Harold, the way forward takes you by surprise. You try to force something in the familiar direction and discover that what it needs is to move in a different dimension. The way forward is not forward, but off to one side, in a place you have not noticed before.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“It is no good thinking about how life will get better once you have a new television or a new job. You must stop hoping for change. You must simply be it.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Waiting is about being still. You can’t keep busy every minute, otherwise you’re not waiting. You’re just throwing things around to distract yourself.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Perhaps I took my mother more literally than she intended, but I applied her rule to my life; after all, we are all searching for them, the rules. We pick them up from the strangest places, and if they appear to work once we can live a whole lifetime by them, regardless of the unhappiness and difficulty they may later bring.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“So you see, people are rarely the straightforward things we think they are. Even the villains in a story can turn round and surprise us.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy



“PEOPLE CAN LOVE in different ways,” I told David. “You can love full-on, with a lot of noise, or you can do it quietly, over the washing-up. You can even love a person without them knowing.” I was careful to turn away.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“I’d made my sea garden to atone for the terrible wrong I had done to a man I loved, I said. Sometimes you have to do something with your pain because otherwise it will swallow”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Sometimes you love something not because you instinctively connect with it but because another person does, and keeping their things in your heart takes you back to them.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“It is a hard thing, as I said, this learning to love. But it is an even harder thing, I think, to learn to be ordinary.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Sometimes a person can smile when you are feeling only the difficulty of a thing and the problem unravels before your eyes and becomes straightforward.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy



“They were a delicious bunch but always forgetting the sensible things like food and daylight and remembering only the more intoxicating ones like love and gin.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“I had to get away from him. Sometimes we reject the people who tell the truth and it is not because they are wrong. It is because we can’t”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“When I first met you, I was ready. I had a space for you.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“If only memory were a library with everything stored where it should be. If only you could walk to the desk and say to the assistant, I’d like to return the painful memories about David Fry or indeed his mother and take out some happier ones, please. About stickleback fishing with my father. Or picnicking on the banks of the Cherwell when I was a student. And the assistant would say, Certainly, madam. We have all those. Under “F” for “Fishing.” As well as “P” for “Picnicking.” You’ll find them on your left.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“I just want someone to see me, Q. See who I really am.” It is what we all want, in the end; to be seen.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy



“Don’t try to see ahead to the nice bits. Don’t try to see ahead to the end. Stay with the present, even if it is not so good. And consider how far you’ve already come.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“When a thing is taken away, you see more clearly what it brought to your life...”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“I am starting again, I thought. Because that is what you do when you reach the last stop. You make a new beginning.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Sometimes, Harold, the way forward takes you by surprise. You try to force something in the familiar direction and discover that what it needs is to move in a different dimension.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“I still remember the winter sky that evening. Whenever I worked in my sea garden and I saw a sunset like that, I'd think back to Bantham Beach. It was as if the sun had been torn open. Everything was scarlet. The clouds were flames, so wild and vibrant that blue didn't look like a color anymore. The sea and land served as a mirror. The ribbed sand was on fire. So were the stones and maroon rock pools. The pink crests of the waves. The burning hump of Burgh Island.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy



“so many people going about their lives, millions of them, being ordinary, doing ordinary things that no one notices, that no one sings about, but there they are nevertheless, and they are filled with life. I”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Waiting is about being still. You can't keep busy every minute, otherwise you're not waiting. You're just throwing things around to distract yourself.... You don't get to a place by constantly moving, even if your journey is only one of sitting still and waiting. Every once in a while you have to stop in your tracks.... You have to see what you did not see before.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


“Thank fuck that’s over,” said Finty, rubbing at her mouth and her sweatshirt. “Let’s have a game of Scrabble.”
― Rachel Joyce, quote from The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


About the author

Rachel Joyce
Born place: The United Kingdom
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