Jeffrey Eugenides quotes

  • Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Love #Life #Learning

  • You never get over it, but you get to where it doesn't bother you so much.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #I Hate You #Bother #Over It

  • She wanted a book to take her places she couldn't get to herself.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Book #Wanted

  • She held herself very straight, like Audrey Hepburn, whom all women idolize and men never think about.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Men #Thinking #Audrey

  • There are some books that reached through the noise of life to grab you by the collar and speak only of the truest things.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Book #Noise #Speak

  • Basically what we have here is a dreamer. Somebody out of touch with reality. When she jumped, she probably thought she'd fly
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Life #Reality #Dreamer

  • She thought a writer should work harder writing a book than she did reading it.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Reading #Book #Writing

  • Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It's always there, though.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Depression #Hurt #Mind

  • She may have looked normal on the outside, but once you'd seen her handwriting you knew she was deliciously complicated inside.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Handwriting #May #Normal

  • It was like autumn, looking at her. it was like driving up north to see the colors.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Autumn #Color #Driving

  • Everyone struggles against despair, but it always wins in the end. It has to. It's the thing that lets us say goodbye.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Goodbye #Struggle #Winning

  • It was one of those humid days when the atmosphere gets confused. Sitting on the porch, you could feel it: the air wishing it was water.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Confused #Air #Water

  • But in the end it wasn't up to me. The bigs things never are. Birth, I mean, and death. And love. And what love bequeaths to us before we're born.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Mean #And Love #Birth

  • They had killed themselves over our dying forests, over manatees maimed by propellers as they surfaced to drink from garden hoses; they had killed themselves at the sight of used tires stacked higher than the pyramids; they had killed themselves over the failure to find a love none of us could ever be. In the end, the tortures tearing the Lisbon girls pointed to a simple reasoned refusal to accept the world as it was handed down to them, so full of flaws.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Simple #Garden

  • I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Baby #Teenage

  • When I think back about my immediate reaction to that redheads girl, it seems to spring from an appreciation of natural beauty. I mean the heart pleasure you get from looking at speckled leaves or the palimpsested bark of plane trees in Provence. There was something richly appealing to her color combination, the ginger snaps floating in the milk-white skin, the golden highlights in the strawberry hair. it was like autumn, looking at her. It was like driving up north to see the colors.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Appreciation #Spring

  • I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend you’re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, you’ll never dumb things down. You won’t have to explain things that don’t need explaining. You’ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and don’t wish to be condescended to.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Smart #Writing #Dumb

  • I don’t know what you’re feeling, I won’t even pretend
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Feelings

  • Heartbreak is funny to everyone but the heartbroken.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Heartbreak #Heartbroken

  • In the midst of my skeptical, cynical, often pessimistic nature exists a slender capacity to believe, if only temporarily, in a guiding, unseen power, and whenever this happens, I go with it. That's what inspiration is. You don't get it from the gods. You make it.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Believe #Inspiration #Cynical

  • It was possible to feel superior to other people and feel like a misfit at the same time.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #People #Misfits #Feels

  • Can you see me? All of me? Probably not. No one ever really has.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

  • He knew a lot about his grandparents - and perhaps he feels he's been endowed with abilities to go into people's heads who are long dead - but, to a certain extent, he's making it up.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Long #People #Grandparent

  • If you talk to geneticists they are constantly finding that your genes are being switched on and off because of the environment. Genes alone do not determine an exact path in your life.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Path #Environment #Genes

  • There was nowhere I could go that wouldn't be you.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

  • It was something every child knew how to do, maintain a direct and full connection with the world. Somehow you forgot about it as you grew up, and had to learn it again.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Children #Connections #World

  • Emotions, in my experience aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic traincar constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." ... I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." I've never had the right words to describe my life...
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Disappointment #Regret #Believe

  • The time has to be right and the heart willing.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Heart #Willing

  • In the end, it wasn't death that surprised her but the stubbornness of life.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Death #Stubbornness #Ends

  • I live my own life and nurse my own wounds. It's not the best way to live. But it's the way I am.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Nurse #Way #Wounds

  • She'd become an English major for the purest and dullest of reasons: because she loved to read.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Reason #English Major

  • The essential matrimonial facts: that to be happy you have to find variety in repetition; that to go forward you have to come back to where you begin.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Essentials #Facts #Repetition

  • We value love not because it's stronger than death but because it's weaker. Say what you want about love: death will finish it. You will not go on loving in the grave, not in any physical way that will at all resemble love as we know it on earth. The perishable nature of love is what gives love its importance in our lives. If it were endless, if it were on tap, love wouldn't hit us the way it does.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Love #Giving #Stronger

  • He had the feeling that there was something physically behind his eyes, blocking the light.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Block #Eye #Light

  • My house fly theory is related to my theory about why time seems to go faster as you get older." "Why's that?" the girl asked. "It's proportional," Leonard explained. "When you're five, you've only been alive a couple thousand days. But by the time you're fifty, you've lived around twenty thousand days. So a day when you're five seems longer because it's a greater percentage of the whole.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Couple #House

  • I went into the desert to forget about you. But the sand was the color of your hair. The desert sku was the color of your eyes. There was nowhere I could go that wouldn't be you.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Eye #Hair #Color

  • Paris was a museum displaying exactly itself.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Museums #Paris

  • Yes, you need a passport to prove to the world that you exist. The people at passport control, they cannot look at you and see you are a person. No! They have to look at a little photograph of you. Then they believe you exist.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Believe #People #World

  • She could become a spinster, like Emily Dickinson, writing poems full of dashes and brilliance, and never gaining weight.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Writing #Weight #Spinsters

  • College wasn't like the real world. In the real world people dropped names based on their renown. In college, people dropped names based on their obscurity.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Real #College #Names

  • It's often said that a traumatic experience early in life marks a person forever, pulls her out of line, saying, "Stay there. Don't move.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Moving #Forever #Lines

  • People don't save other people. People save themselves.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #People

  • For the eternity that Lux Lisbon looked at him, Trip Fontaine looked back, and the love he felt at that moment, truer than all subsequent loves because it never had to survive real life, still plagued him, even now in the desert, with his looks and health wasted. 'You never know what'll set the memory off,' he told us. 'A baby's face. A bell on a cat's collar. Anything.' They didn't exchange a single word. But in the weeks that followed, Trip spent his days wandering the halls, hoping for Lux to appear, the most naked person with clothes on he had ever seen.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Baby #Memories #Real

  • Every letter was a love letter. Of course, as love letters went, this one could have been better. It was not very promising, for instance, that Madeleine claimed not to want to see him for the next half-century.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Next #Half #Letters

  • We Greeks are a moody people. Suicide makes sense to us. Putting up Christmas lights after your own daughter does it--that makes no sense. What my yia yia could never understand about America was why everyone pretended to be happy all the time.” -Mrs. Karafilis
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Suicide #Daughter #America

  • You went out with a girl at first because the sheer sight of her made you weak in the knees. You fell in love and were desperate not to let her get away. And yet the more you thought about her, the less you knew who she was. The hope was that love transcended all differences. That was the hope.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Differences #Sight

  • What if you had faith and performed good works, what if you died and went to heaven, and what if all the people you met there were people you didn't like?
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #People #Heaven #What If

  • Reading a novel after reading semiotic theory was like jogging empty-handed after jogging with hand weights. What exquisite guilt she felt, wickedly enjoying narrative! Madeleine felt safe with a nineteenth century novel. There were going to be people in it. Something was going to happen to them in a place resembling the world. Then too there were lots of weddings in Wharton and Austen. There were all kinds of irresistible gloomy men.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Reading #Men #Hands

  • There comes a moment, when you get lost in the woods, when the woods begin to feel like home.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Home #Woods #Moments

  • It was amazing how it worked: the tiniest bit of truth made credible the greatest lies.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Lying #Deceit #Made

  • What are you doing here, honey? You're not even old enough to know how bad life gets." (...) "Obviously, Doctor," she said, "you've never been a thirteen-year-old girl.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Doctors #Years

  • The lover`s discourse was of an extreme solitude. The solitude was extreme because it wasn`t physical. It was extreme because you felt it while in the company of the person you loved. It was extreme because it was in your head, the most solitary of places.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Solitude #Lovers #Solitary

  • Their desire was silent yet magnificent, like a thousand daisies attuning their faces toward the path of the sun.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Desire #Faces #Sun

  • She lost much of her appetite. At night, an invisible hand kept shaking her awake every few hours. Grief was physiological, a disturbance of the blood. Sometimes a whole minute would pass in nameless dread - the bedside clock ticking, the blue moonlight coating the window like glue - before she`d remember the brutal fact that had caused it.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Grief #Night #Blue

  • A girl's not a watermelon you plug a hole in to see if it's sweet.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Sweet #Holes

  • Some cities have fallen into ruin and some are built upon ruins but others contain their own ruins while still growing.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Cities #Growing #Ruins

  • It was morning by the clock but deepest nighttime in his body.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Morning #Body #Clock

  • It was as if, before she`d met him, her blood had circulated grayly around her body, and now ir was all oxygenated and red. She was petrified of becoming the half-alive person she`d been before.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Blood #Red #Becoming

  • The only way we know it's true is that we both dreamed it. That's what reality is. It's a dream everyone has together.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Dream #Reality #Together

  • He remained heartbroken, which meant one of two things: either his love was pure and true and earthshakingly significant; or he was addicted to feeling forlorn, he liked being heartbroken.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Heartbroken #Two #Feelings

  • Whenever we got a glimpse, their faces looked indecently revealed, as though we were used to seeing women in veils.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Glimpse #Veils #Faces

  • They were bound for college, husbands, child-rearing, unhappiness only dimly perceived- bound, in other words, for life.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Children #Husband #College

  • It took courage to let things fall apart so beautifully.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Fall #Falling Apart

  • They thought depression was like bieng 'depressed'. They thought it was like being in a bad mood, only worse. Therefore, they tried to get him to snap out of it.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Depression #Bad Mood #Mood

  • Grief is natural,' she said. 'Overcoming it is a matter of choice.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Grief #Choices #Overcoming

  • Though at this moment she felt abused, abandoned, and ashamed of herself, Madeleine knew that she was still young, that she had her whole life ahead of her--a life in which, if she persevered, she might do something special--and that part of persevering meant getting past moments just like this one, when people made you feel small, unlovable, and took away your confidence.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Past #People #Special

  • It was the combination of many factors... With most people, suicide is like Russian roulette. Only one chamber has a bullet. With the Lisbon girls, the gun was loaded. A bullet for family abuse. A bullet for genetic predisposition. A bullet for historical malaise. A bullet for inevitable momentum. The other two bullets are impossible to name, but that doesn't mean the chambers were empty.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Suicide #Mean

  • During a warm winter rain ... the basins of her collarbones collected water.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Rain #Winter #Water

  • A seven-year-old girl can take only so many walks with her grandfather.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Years #Grandfather

  • I approach writing female characters the same why I approach writing male characters. I never think I'm writing about women, I think I'm writing about one woman, one person. And I try to imagine what she is like, and endow her with a lot of my own thoughts and history.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Writing #Character #Thinking

  • Usually my ideas are small.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Ideas

  • The Pulitzer Prize is an idea; it's a vote of confidence. Like literature, it exists purely in the mind.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Ideas #Mind #Literature

  • Novelists are always resisting autobiographical readings of their work, because they know how false those can be.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Reading #Writing #Novelists

  • I spend most of every day writing. I like to write every day if I can. I don't start extremely early.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Work #Writing

  • I always work in a room where there's no Internet to keep from being distracted so easily.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Technology #Rooms #Internet

  • I know that attaching memories to books may be going out of the world, but while it lasts, it's a strong record of your life.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Strong #Memories #Book

  • You begin always knowing nothing. You remain forever an amateur, a first timer.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Knowing #Forever #Firsts

  • I'm hopefully making the reader feel a lot about the characters and then about their own life.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Character #Emotion #Reader

  • Well, marriage doesn't function in the way it used to in terms of deciding our fate, but it's in our heads, and it determines a lot of our actions. Like, right now, if you think about gay marriage - and they just started having the first gay marriages in New York - it shows what a potent idea marriage remains for people.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #New York #Fate #Gay

  • What I do when I create a character is put in details from all the people I know who might be like that person, and then put in a huge amount of myself.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Creativity #Character #People

  • I'd like to show how 'intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members' connects with 'the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Mirrors #Hatred #Age

  • I think the suicides in my first book came from the idea of growing up in Detroit. If you grow up in a city like that you feel everything is perishing, evanescent and going away very quickly.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Suicide #Growing Up #Book

  • At night the cries of cats making love or fighting, their caterwauling in the dark, told us that the world was pure emotion, flung back and forth among its creatures, the agony of the one-eyed Siamese no different from that of the Lisbon girls, and even the trees plunged in feeling.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Cat #Fighting

  • Household objects lost meaning. A bedside clock became a hunk of molded plastic, telling something called time, in a world marking it's passage for some reason.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #World #Reason #Clock

  • I was aware that you weren't supposed to write about suburbia, that it was undignified in some way, the subject matter not momentous enough. And so, for a long time, that kept me from writing about it. But once I began, I realized it was just as interesting as anywhere else.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Writing #Long #Interesting

  • If you grew up in a house where you weren't loved, you didn't know there was an alternative.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Love #House #Alternatives

  • I'd like to have a word for 'the sadness inspired by failing restaurants' as well as for 'the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Sadness #Rooms #Excitement

  • I've never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Needs #Stories

  • Some Pulitzer winners - novelists - have confided to me that getting the prize screwed them up. It messed with their heads. That hasn't been my experience.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Success #Novelists #Winner

  • I have a very beautiful room in my house... It's glass on three sides, and you'd think that's the perfect place to write. Somehow in that nice room I feel too exposed, and... I'm too distracted by things going on, so I end up writing in a not-very-nice office bedroom.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Beautiful #Nice #Writing

  • I'm not really an autobiographical writer, though I use lots of stuff from my life to make my stories seem real. But when I actually write about myself, I get very confused.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Confused #Real #Writing

  • That's the way I will write characters, put a fair amount of myself in them, and then everyone else who was like that person, I will pick and choose.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Writing #Character #Way

  • I have a good memory for early life. My visual memory is good about childhood and adolescence, and less good in the last 10 years. I could probably tell you less what happened in the last 10 years. I remember what houses looked like, sometimes they just pop into my head.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Memories #Years #House

  • I studied English literature in the honors program, which means that you had to take courses in various centuries. You had to start with Old English, Middle English, and work your way toward the modern. I figured if I did that it would force me to read some of the things I might not read on my own.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Mean #Honor #Literature

  • If you think of even Tolstoy or a book like 'Anna Karenina,' you go from character to character, and each section is from the third person perspective of a different character, so you get to see the whole world a little more kaleidoscopically that way. That's traditional narrative manner, and I haven't done a book like that before, but I enjoyed it.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Book #Character #Thinking

  • My change from girl to boy was far less dramatic than the distance anybody travels from infancy to adulthood.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Girl #Distance #Boys

  • My goal in life is to become an adjective,
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Goal #Adjectives #Life Is

  • They made us participate in their own madness, because we couldn't help but retrace their steps, rethink their thoughts, and see that none of them led to us.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Depression #Steps #Helping

  • No matter how long your've been at it, you always start from scratch.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Writing #Long #Scratches

  • I think, especially when you're in college, each book that you're reading tends to tell you who you are.
    -- Jeffrey Eugenides

    #Book #Reading #College