Quotes from What Is the What

Dave Eggers ·  475 pages

Rating: (67K votes)


“I will not wait to love as best as I can. We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is no way to live, to wait to love.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“But everyone disappears, no matter who loves them.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“His lies were so exquisite I almost wept.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“Humans are divided between those who can still look through the eyes of youth and those who cannot.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“Whatever I do, however I find a way to live, I will tell these stories. I have spoken to every person I have encountered these last difficult days...I speak to these people, and I speak to you because I cannot help it. It gives me strength, almost unbelievable strength, to know that you are there. I covet your eyes, your ears, the collapsible space between us. How blessed are we to have each other? I am alive and you are alive and so we must fill the air with our words. I will fill today, tomorrow, every day until I am taken back to God. I will tell stories to people who will listen and to people who don't want to listen, to people who seek me out and to those who run. All the while I will know that you are there. How can I pretend that you do not exist? It would be almost as impossible as you pretending that I do not exist.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What



“When there is pleasure, there is often abandon, and mistakes are made.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“Every part of my body felt electric. My chest ached and my head throbbed with the great terrible limitless possibility of the morning, and when it came, the sky was washed white, everything was new, and I hadn't slept at all.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“I cannot count the times I have cursed our lack of urgency. If I ever love again, I will not wait to love as best as I can. We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is no way to live, to wait to love.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“This boy thinks I am not of his species, that I am some other kind of creature, one that can be crushed under the weight of a phone book.

The pain is not great, but the symbolism is disagreeable.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“If I ever fall in love again, I will not wait to love as best as I can. We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is no way to live, to wait to love.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What



“I had the sensation that I might always be running like this, that I would always have to run, and that I would always be able to run.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“My plans are a jumble for now, but I do know certain things that I will and will not do. [...] I will reach upward. I will attempt to do better. I will not be a burden upon those who have helped me too much already. I will always be grateful for what pleasure I have enjoyed, what joys I have yet to experience. I will take opportunities as they come, but at the same time, I will not trust so easily. I will look at who is at the door before opening it. I will try to be fierce. I will argue when necessary. I will be willing to fight. I will not smile reflexively at every person I see. I will live as a good child of God, and will forgive him each time he claims another of the people I love. I will forgive and attempt to understand his plans for me, and I will not pity myself.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“I had forgotten that, and so many things. How could I put everything down on paper? It seemed impossible. No matter what, the majority of life would be left out of this story, this sliver of a version of the life I'd known. But I tried anyway.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“I lost someone very close to me and afterward I believed I could have saved him had I been a better friend to him. But everyone disappears, no matter who loves them.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“I will tell these stories...because to do anything else would be something less than human. I speak to these people, and I speak to you because I cannot help it. It gives me strength, almost unbelievable strength, to know that you are there. I covet your eyes, your ears, the collapsible space between us. How blessed are we to have each other? I am alive and you are alive so we must fill the air with our words. I will fill today, tomorrow, every day until I am taken back to God. I will tell stories to people who will listen and to people who don't want to listen, to people who seek me out and to those who run. All the while I will know that you are there. How can I pretend that you do not exist? It would be almost as impossible as you pretending that I do not exist.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What



“Nothing again. No one is listening. No one is waiting to hear the kicking of a man above. It is unexpected. You have no ears for someone like me.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“Hello Frances, I have just been to health class, and I was wondering how your feminine parts were developing.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“In hospitals I feel palpable comfort. I feel the competence, the expertise, so much education and money, all of the supplies sterile, everything packaged, sealed tight. My fears evaporate when the automatic doors shush open.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“I have had friends who I decided were not good friends, were people who brought more trouble than happiness, and thus I have found ways to create more distance between us. Now I have the same thoughts about God, my faith, that I had for these friends. God is in my life but I do not depend on him. My God is not a reliable God.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“But we're no longer rain, I said, we're no longer seeds. We're men. Now we can stand and decide. This is our first chance to choose our own unknown. I'm so proud of everything we've done, my brothers, and if we're fortunate enough to fly and land again in a new place, we must continue. As impossible as it sounds, we must keep walking. And yes, there has been suffering, but now there will be grace. There has been pain, but now there will be serenity. No one has been tried the way we have been tried, and now this is our reward.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What



“I often cannot believe the things I do.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“The issue is complex, but like many matters in Sudan, it is not as complex as Khartoum would want the west to believe.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“But without William K, I would have forgotten that I had not been born on this journey. That I had lived before this.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“But while Sasha told us that in America even the most successful men can have but one wife at once--my father had six--and talked about escalators, indoor plumbing, and the various laws of the land, he did not warn us that I would be told by American teenagers that I should go back to Africa. ”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“It was always difficult to get cattle returned once a marriage was dissolved.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What



“The truth is that I do not like hanging in there. I was born, I believe, to do more. Or perhaps it's that I survived to do more. Dorsetta is married, a mother of three, and manages a restaurant; she does more than hang in there. I have a low opinion of this expression, "Hang in there.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“This morning there s first a predictable story about Darfur; an expert on African affairs notes that seven thousand African Union troops patrolling a region the size of France have been ineffectual in preventing continued janjaweed terror. Funding for the troops is about to run out, and it seems that no one, including the United States, is ready to put forth more money or come up with new ideas to stop the killing and displacement. This is not surprising to those of us who lived through twenty years of oppression by the hands of Khartoum and its militias.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. If I ever love again, I will not wait to love as I can. It is no way to live, to wait to love.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“If a boy became sick he walked alone; the others were afraid to catch what he had, and did not want to know him too well for he would surely die soon. We did not want his voice in our heads.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What


“It seemed the whole world knew this person named Diana, and if the world knew her, the connection between the peoples of the earth was tighter than I had imagined. I wondered if the people of England would mourn if Mike and Grace died. At that time, confused as I was, I imagined that they would.”
― Dave Eggers, quote from What Is the What



About the author

Dave Eggers
Born place: in Boston, Massachusetts, The United States
Born date March 12, 1970
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