Aleksandar Hemon quotes

  • Home is where somebody notices when you are no longer there.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Home

  • I loved you because there was no other place for me to go. We were married because we did not know what else to do with each other. You never knew me, nothing about me, what died inside me, what lived invisibly.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Married #I Loved You

  • The perfect borscht is what life should be but never is.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Perfect #Should #Borscht

  • Belief and delusion are incestuous siblings.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Sibling #Belief #Delusion

  • I gradually became aware that my interiority was inseparable from my exteriority, that the geography of my city was the geography of my soul.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Cities #Soul #Geography

  • When I look at my old pictures, all I can see is what I used to be but am no longer. I think: What I can see is what I am not.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Thinking #Looks #Used

  • I much preferred winning to thinking and I didn't like losing at all.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Winning #Thinking #Losing

  • We knew - but didn't want to know - what was going to happen, the sky descending upon our heads like the shadow of a falling piano in a cartoon.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Fall #Sky #Piano

  • Our daughter was born in Chicago, and she's already showing it. The temperature has to be approaching zero for her to wear a hat.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Daughter #Mother #Zero

  • If you can't go home, there is nowhere to go, and nowhere is the biggest place in the world-indeed, nowhere is the world.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Home #World #Nowhere To Go

  • The privilege of a middle-class, stable, bourgeois life is that you can pretend that you are not complicated and project yourself as a solid, uncomplicated person, with refined life goals and achievements.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Class #Goal #Achievement

  • My skin was the border between the world and me.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Skins #Borders #World

  • I wish I could avoid the people who have threatened me. My favorite threat is that I will be thrown in the River Miljacka, which is at most knee-deep, with my feet bound in cement.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Rivers #Feet #People

  • I'll take any life in which I can make choices and have agency, and America is not a bad place for all that.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Agency #America #Choices

  • One builds one's life in consistency; one invests it with the belief, however unsupported by reality, that one has always been what one is now, that even in one's distant past one could recognize the seed from which this doomed flower has bloomed.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Flower #Reality #Past

  • I like to blur the line between fact and fiction, but not to condescend to the reader by enmeshing her/him into some sort of a postmodern coop.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Facts #Fiction #Lines

  • The hopeless hope is one of the early harbingers of spring, bespeaking an innocent belief that the world might right its wrongs and reverse its curses simply because the trees are coming into leaf.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Spring #Tree #World

  • I did not intend to stay; I had no experience in the United States - I may have been here less than 24 hours - but I knew I would never get inside there. And 'there' not being America necessarily, but that harmonious mode of living that some people are lucky enough to have in this country.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Country #America #People

  • I cannot stand that whole game of confession, that is: Here I have sinned, now I'm confessing my sins, and describing my path of sin and then in the act of confession I beg for your forgiveness and redemption.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Games #Path #Redemption

  • We hated pretentiousness; it was a form of self-hatred.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Self #Hatred #Form

  • I actually didn't listen to the Beatles song 'Nowhere Man' when I was writing my book of the same name. What I listened to a lot was 'Abbey Road.' Its disjointedness and its readiness to confuse only to delight were inspiring to me.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Song #Book #Writing

  • I am a writer, which means I write stories, I write novels, and I would write poetry if I knew how to. I don't want to limit myself.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Writing #Mean #Stories

  • New York is the Hollywood of the publishing industry, complete with stars, starlets, suicidal publishers/producers, intrigues, and a lot of money.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #New York #Stars #Suicidal

  • I tend to wait for true stories to mature into fiction. Most of my fiction grew out of a long-germinating real-life situation.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Real #Long #Waiting

  • I resist when someone calls me a novelist: it implies some kind of inherent superiority of the novel. I'm not a novelist, I'm a writer.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Novelists #Kind #Call Me

  • I long for, not a writer's retreat - I can write in any situation - but a reader's retreat.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Writing #Long #Retreat

  • I've been a Nick Cave fan since the early '80s when he was part of The Birthday Party thing singing Australian self-destructive rock band and I've always followed his work and loved it.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Party #Rocks #Self

  • For people who are displaced, you can reconstruct the story of your life from the objects you have access to, but if you don't have the objects then there are holes in your life. This is why people in Bosnia - if anyone was running back into a burning house, it was to salvage photos.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Running #People #House

  • God knows our despair. God wants His chosen people to live in peace. God loves life, cares less about death. We need to live. I want to live, I want my children to live. Everyone I know wants to live. You have to ask yourself what is more important to you, life is death. What is this world about - life or death?
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Children #Love Life #People

  • To me there's no difference between a book of stories and a novel - they're just slightly different shapes.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Book #Differences #Different

  • When I found myself in the U.S., and the war was at full swing in Bosnia, I read for survival - it was a means of thought resuscitation.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #War #Mean #Swings

  • I cannot live or write without music. It stimulates the normally dormant parts of my brain that come in handy when constructing fiction.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Writing #Brain #Fiction

  • I suppose I'm interested in sorrow, which is very different from depression or despair. Sorrow is continuous with the world; it allows for creativity.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Creativity #Sorrow #Despair

  • In Bosnian, there's no distinction in literature between fiction and nonfiction; there's no word describing that.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Fiction #Literature #Bosnians

  • When I came to America, I was already a writer, already published in Bosnia. I was planning to go back, but I had no choice but to stay here after the civil war, so I enrolled at Northwestern in a master's program and studied American literature.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #War #America #Choices

  • A particular piece of music attaches itself to the piece I'm writing, and there is nothing else I can listen to. Every day I return to the same space to write, the music providing both the walls and the pictures on the walls.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Wall #Writing #Space

  • I had an epiphany: I was a loser.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Loser #Epiphany

  • I am just like everybody else...because there is nobody like me in the whole world.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #World #Nobody Likes Me

  • I have two homes, like someone who leaves their hometown and/or parents and then establishes a life elsewhere. They might say that they're going home when they return to see old friends or parents, but then they go home as well when they go to where they live now. Sarajevo is home, Chicago is home.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Home #Two #Parent

  • It seemed that we loved each other better when there were large swaths of two continents between us. The daily work of love was often hard to perform at home.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Home #Two #Daily Work

  • Your nightmares follow you like a shadow, forever.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Forever #Shadow #Nightmare

  • There are moments in life when it is all turned inside out--what is real becomes unreal, what is unreal becomes tangible, and all your levelheaded efforts to keep a tight ontological control are rendered silly and indulgent.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Real #Silly #Effort

  • I recognized him then; that is, I finally comprehended what I had known but had never been able to formulate: he had always been complete. He had finished the work of becoming himself, long before any of us could even imagine such a feat was possible.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Long #Able #Becoming

  • The world is always greater than your desires; plenty is never enough.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Contentment #Desire #World

  • My country's main exports are stolen cars and sadness.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Country #Sadness #Car

  • I spotted a can in the corner whose red label read SADNESS. Was there so much of it they could can it and sell it? A bolt of pain went through my intestines before I realized that it was not SADNESS but SARDINES.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Pain #Sadness #Labels

  • All the lives I could live, all the people I will never know, never will be, they are everywhere. That is all that the world is.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #People #World

  • Your memories become fantasies if they are not shared, and your life in all its triviality becomes a legend.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Memories #Legends #Fantasy

  • There is a logic [to my reading], but I can't define it. I like reading impulsively. I collect books, I have a lot of them, but most of them I have not read yet. I'll read them when they call me from the shelf.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Book #Reading #Logic

  • Because sometimes you have no control over life and it keeps you far away from who you love.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Sometimes #Far Away

  • Lord, why did you leave me in these woods?
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Woods #Lord #Leaving Me

  • I wanted us to share the sense that the number of wrong moves far exceeds the number of good moves, to share the frightening instability of the correct decision, to bond in being confounded.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Moving #Numbers #Decision

  • I do have a sense of displacement as constant instability — the uninterrupted existence of everything that I love and care about is not guaranteed at all. I wait for catastrophes.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Waiting #Care #Existence

  • I dont make notes for myself because I either lose them or they make no sense to me at all. I once found a piece of paper with the note: everything. Apparently I made a note to myself not to forget everything!
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Pieces #Paper #Forget

  • Where can you go from nowhere, except deeper into nowhere?
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Deeper

  • The more you lose, the more is to be lost, yet it matters less.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Matter #Lost

  • It is so much easier to deal with the dead than with the living. The dead are out of the way, merely characters from stories about the past, never again unreadable, no misunderstandings possible, the pain coming from them stable and manageable. nor do you have to explain yourself to them, to justify the fact of your life.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Pain #Character #Past

  • The incessant perpetuation of collective fantasies makes people crave the truth and nothing but the truth - reality is the fastest American commodity.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Reality #People #Fantasy

  • Time does nothing but hand you down shabbier and older things.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Hands #Doe

  • Projecting yourself until everything is talking about you is, of course, a self-flattering form of self-pity
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Self #Talking #Pity

  • Memory narrativises itself.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #Memories

  • I read everything I could find in English - Twain, Henry James, Hemingway, really everything. And then after a while I started writing shorter pieces in English, and one of them got published in a literary magazine and that's how it got started. After that, graduate school didn't seem very important.
    -- Aleksandar Hemon

    #School #Writing #Important