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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves. On rainy days, you can hear their chorus rushing past: IwasabeautifulgirlPleasedon’tgoItoobelievemybodyismadeofglass-I’veneverlovedanyoneIthinkofmyselfasfunnyForgiveme….There was a time when it wasn’t uncommon to use a piece of string to guide words that otherwise might falter on the way to their destinations. Shy people carried a little bunch of string in their pockets, but people considered loudmouths had no less need for it, since those used to being overheard by everyone were often at a loss for how to make themselves heard by someone. The physical distance between two people using a string was often small; sometimes the smaller the distance, the greater the need for the string. The practice of attaching cups to the ends of string came much later. Some say it is related to the irrepressible urge to press shells to our ears, to hear the still-surviving echo of the world’s first expression. Others say it was started by a man who held the end of a string that was unraveled across the ocean by a girl who left for America.When the world grew bigger, and there wasn’t enough string to keep the things people wanted to say from disappearing into the vastness, the telephone was invented.Sometimes no length of string is long enough to say the thing that needs to be said. In such cases all the string can do, in whatever its form, is conduct a person’s silence.

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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.

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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

I had left my anger somewhere long ago. Put it down on a park bench and walked away. And yet. It had been so long, I didn’t know any other way of being. One day I woke up and said to myself: It’s not too late. The first days were strange. I had to practice smiling in front of the mirror. But it came back to me. It was as if a weight had been lifted. I let go, and something let go of me.

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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

That’s what I do. Watch movies and read. Sometimes I even pretend to write, but I’m not fooling anyone. Oh, and I go to the mailbox.

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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, and they parted with leaves in their hair.Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.

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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

All the times I have suddenly realized that my parents are dead, even now, it still surprises me, to exist in the world while that which made me has ceased to exist.

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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone’s hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted–wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don’t look at me. If you don’t, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.

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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

One day she marched around the side of the house and confronted me. “I’ve seen you out there every day for the past week, and everyone knows you stare at me all day in school, if you have something you want to say to me why don’t you just say it to my face instead of sneaking around like a crook?” I considered my options. Either I could run away and never go back to school again, maybe even leave the country as a stowaway on a ship bound for Australia. Or I could risk everything and confess to her. The answer was obvious: I was going to Australia. I opened my mouth to say goodbye forever. And yet. What I said was: I want to know if you’ll marry me.

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Nicole Krauss The History of Love

Quote from Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

She’s kept her love for him as alive as the summer they first met. In order to do this, she’s turned life away. Sometimes she subsists for days on water and air. Being the only known complex life-form to do this, she should have a species named after her. Once Uncle Julian told me how the sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti said that sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.My mother did not choose a leaf or a head. She chose my father. And to hold on to a certain feeling, she sacrificed the world.

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