30+ quotes from Timbuktu by Paul Auster

Quotes from Timbuktu

Paul Auster ·  181 pages

Rating: (10.2K votes)


“That's all I've ever dreamed of, Mr. Bones. To make the world a better place. To bring some beauty to the drab humdrum corners of the soul. You can do it with a toaster, you can do it with a poem, you can do it by reaching out your hand to a stranger. It doesn't matter what form it takes. To leave the world a little better than you found it. That's the best a man can ever do.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“To leave the world a little better than you found it. That's the best a man can ever do.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“...once you fell in love with her, you
loved her until the day you died.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“But that was the beauty of this particular game. The moment you lost, you won.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Good begets good; evil begets evil; and even if the good you give is met by evil, you have no choice but to go on giving better than you get. Otherwise-and these were Willy's exact words-why bother to go on living?”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“He slipped away slowly, withdrawing from this world by small, imperceptible degrees, and in the end it was as if
he were a drop of water evaporating in the sun, shrinking and shrinking until at last he wasn’t there anymore.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“MR. BONES KNEW THAT WILLY WASN'T LONG FOR THIS WORLD. The cough had been inside him for over six months, and by now there wasn't a chance in hell that he would ever get rid of it. Slowly and inexorably, without once taking a turn for the better, the thing had assumed a life of its own, advancing from a faint, phlegm-filled rattle in the lungs on February third to the wheezy sputum-jigs and gobby convulsions of high summer. All that was bad enough, but in the past two weeks a new tonality had crept into the bronchial music - something tight and flinty and percussive - and the attacks came now so often as to be almost constant. Every time one of them started, Mr. Bones half expected Willy's body to explode from the rockets of pressure bursting agaisnt his rib cage. He figured that blood would be the next step and when that fatal moment finally occurred on Saturday afternoon, it was as if all the angels in heaven had opened their mouths and started to sing. Mr. Bones saw it happen with his own eyes, standing by the edge of the road between Washington and Baltimore as Willy hawked up a few miserable clots of red matter into his handkerchief, and right then and there he knew that every ounce of hope was gone. The smell of death had settled upon Willy G. Christmas, and as surely as the sun was a lamp in the clouds that went off and on everyday, the end was drawing near.

What was a poor dog to do? Mr. Bones had been with Willy since his earliest days as a pup, and by now it was next to impossible to imagine a world that did not have his master in it. Every thought, every memory, every particle of the earth and air was saturated with Willy's presence. Habits die hard, and no doubt there's some truth to the adage about old dogs and new tricks, but it was more than just love or devotion that caused Mr. Bones to dread what was coming. It was pure ontological terror. Substract Willy from the world, and the odds were that the world itself would cease to exist.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“times i think u were the most cherished trophy i had, but sometimes i think i was the game that you played.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“A crisscross of light and shadow began to form on the pavement in front of him, and it was a beautiful thing to behold, he felt, a small, unexpected gift on the heels of such sadness and pain.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“... he had understood that memory was a place, a real place that one could visit, and that to spend a few moments among the dead was not necessarily bad for you, that it could in fact be a source of great comfort and happiness.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“No one can ever amount to anything in this life without someone else to believe in him.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“what at first had seemed to be no more than a small bump in the road was turned into a full-scale misfortune”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“... love was not a quantifiable substance. There was always more of it somewhere, and even after one love had been lost, it was by no means impossible to find another.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“The difference was not that one was a pessimist and the other an optimist, it was that one's pessimism had led to an ethos of fear, and the other's pessimism had led to a noisy, fractious disdain for Everything-That-Was. One shrank, the other flailed. One toed the line, the other crossed it out. Much of the time they were at loggerheads, and because Willy found it so easy to shock his mother, he rarely wasted an opportunity to provoke an argument. If only she'd the wit to back off a little, he probably wouldn't have been so insistent about making his points. Her antagonism inspired him, pushed him into ever more extreme positions, and by the time he was ready to leave the house and go off to college, he had indelibly cast himself in his chosen role: as malcontent, as rebel, as outlaw poet prowling the gutters of a ruined world.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“It was the first time since his master’s death that he had been able to think about such things without feeling crushed by sorrow, the first time he had understood that memory was a place, a real place that one could visit, and that to spend a few moments among the dead was not necessarily bad for you, that it could in fact be a source of great comfort and happiness.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Conoce a tu enemigo y no te acerques a él”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Si mantienes los ojos abiertos, siempre estarás perdido”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Si hubiera sido capaz de sonreír, habría sonreído en aquel momento”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“hameye ma dar barkhord ba gozashte chenin raftar mikonim,sagha va adamha”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“¿y de qué servía un hogar si uno no se sentía a salvo en él, si le trataban como a un paria precisamente en el sitio que debía servirle de refugio?”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“La primera vez que entendía que la memoria es un lugar, un sitio de verdad al que se podía ir”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Sólo de la constancia nacen las grandes cosas”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Noći koje je tamo proveo bile su gotovo nepodnošljive, pa kakav je to dobar dom ako se u njemu ne osjećaš sigurnim, ako se, upravo na mjestu koje smatraš pribježištem, prema tebi odnose kao prema nekom izopćeniku? Nije pravo zatvoriti dušu u mračnu kutiju. To čine nakon smrti, ali dok si živ, sve dok u sebi imaš i onaj zadnji atom snage, dužan si samome sebi i svemu svetom na ovome svijetu ne pristati na takvo poniženje.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“And if, as all philosophers on the subject have noted, art is a human activity that relies on the senses to reach the soul, did it not also stand to reason that dogs -- at least dogs of Mr. Bones' caliber -- would have it in them to feel a similar aesthetic impulse? Would they not, in other words, be able to appreciate art? As far as Willy knew, no one had ever thought of this before. Did that make him the first man in recorded history to believe such a thing was possible? No matter. It was an idea whose time had come. If dogs were beyond the pull of oil paintings and string quartets, who was to say they wouldn't respond to an art based on the sense of smell? Why not an olfactory art? Why not an art for dogs that dealt with the world as dogs knew it?”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“That's all I've ever dreamed of, Mr. Bones. To make the world a better place. To bring some beauty to the drab, humdrum corners of the soul. You can do it with a toaster, you can do it with a poem, you can do it by reaching out your hand to a stranger. It doesn't matter what form it takes. To leave the world a little better than you found it. That's the best a man can ever do.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Something was wrong, and while Mr. Bones could scarcely imagine what that thing was, Henry's sadness was beginning to have an effect on him, and within a matter of minutes he had taken on the boy's sadness as his own. Such is the was with dogs.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Slowly. Very slowly, sliding my nails along the entire length of the hair. Ah. The satisfactions were immense, incalculable. All that powder flying off of me! The storms, the blizzards, the whirlwinds of whiteness! It was no easy job, let me tell you, but little by little every trace of the O’Dell’s would disappear. The do would be undone, and by the time the last bell rang and the teacher sent us home, my scalp would be tingling with happiness. It was as good as sex, mon vieux, as good as all the drugs and drink I ever poured into my system. Five years old, and every day another orgy of self-repair. No wonder I didn’t pay attention at school. I was too busy feeling myself up, too busy doing the O’Dell’s diddle.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“she’d seen the spark in his fledgling soul, and no one can ever amount to anything in this life without someone else to believe in him.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Neću se ispričavati. Oduvijek sam bio grešno stvorenje, čovjek mučen proturječjima i nestalnošću, kojeg je povuklo previše nagona. S jedne strane: čisto srce, dobrota, odani pomoćnik Djeda Božićnjaka. S druge: lajava protuha, nihilist, poblesavjeli klaun. Gdje je pjesnik? Negdje između, pretpostavljam, u međuvremenu između najboljeg i najgoreg u meni. Ni svetac, ali ni pijana budala. Čovjek s glasovima u glavi, onaj koji je ponekad uspijevao prisluškivati razgovore kamenja i stabala, koji je svako toliko glazbu oblaka uspijevao pretočiti u riječi. Šteta što češće nisam bio on. No nikad nisam bio u Italiji, rodnom mjestu samilosti, pa ako ne možeš platiti kartu, onda ostaješ doma”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


“Kad bih se barem, na samo nekoliko minuta, mogao ponovno pridići na noge smislio bih već nešto. Smjestio bih te negdje, pobrinuo se za to. Samo sapa mi je pri kraju. Osjećam kako curi iz mene, i kako se sve raspada, jedno po jedno. Peso, drži se ti mene. Vratit ću se ja. Samo da prođe ova smetenost, već ću se sabrati. Mislim, ako prođe. Ako ne prođe, uvjerit ćeš se u moju prolaznost, n'est cepas? Samo još malo vremena. Nekoliko minuta, da dođem do daha. Onda ćemo vidjeti. Ili nećemo. Ako nećemo vidjeti, tada će nas okruživati samo tama. Tama, posvuda, sve dokle pogled ne dopire. Sve do mora, do oceanskih dubina ništavila, gdje nema ničega, niti će ikad ičega biti. Samo ja. Čak ni ja. Samo vječnost.”
― Paul Auster, quote from Timbuktu


About the author

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