Jhumpa Lahiri quotes

  • That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Moving #Book #Feet

  • You are still young, free.. Do yourself a favor. Before it's too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Inspiring #Travel #Regret

  • He owned an expensive camera that required thought before you pressed the shutter, and I quickly became his favorite subject, round-faced, missing teeth, my thick bangs in need of a trim. They are still the pictures of myself I like best, for they convey that confidence of youth I no longer possess, especially in front of a camera.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Missing #Bangs #Cameras

  • And yet she could not forgive herself. Even as an adult, she wished only that she could go back and change things: the ungainly things she’d worn, the insecurity she’d felt, all the innocent mistakes she made.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Life #Mistake #Insecurity

  • That the last two letters in her name were the first two in his, a silly thing he never mentioned to her but caused him to believe that they were bound together.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Love #Believe #Silly

  • The thought of Christmas overwhelms him. He no longer looks forward to the holiday; he wants only to be on the other side of the season. His impatience makes him feel that he is incontrovertibly, finally, an adult.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Holiday #Sides #Adults

  • Pack a pillow and blanket and see as much of the world as you can.You will not regret it.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Regret #World #Blanket

  • It was not in my nature to be an assertive person. I was used to looking to others for guidance, for influence, sometimes for the most basic cues of life. And yet writing stories is one of the most assertive things a person can do. Fiction is an act of willfulness, a deliberate effort to reconceive, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself. Even among the most reluctant and doubtful of writers, this willfulness must emerge. Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, “Listen to me.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Mean #Writing #Reality

  • Pet names are a persistant remnant of childhood, a reminder that life is not always so serious, so formal, so complicated. They are a reminder, too, that one is not all things to all people.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Names #People #Childhood

  • Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Imagination #Ordinary #Meals

  • She has given birth to vagabonds. She is the keeper of all these names and numbers now, numbers she once knew by heart, numbers and addresses her children no longer remember.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Children #Heart #Names

  • Fiction is the only way I know a human being can inhabit the mind of another human being.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Mind #Fiction #Way

  • Sexy means loving someone you donot know.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Sexy #Mean #Loving Someone

  • Somehow, bad news, however ridden with static, however filled with echoes, always manages to be conveyed.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Echoes #News #Static

  • I would not send a first story anywhere. I would give myself time to write a number of stories.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Writing #Numbers #Giving

  • The first sentence of a book is a handshake, perhaps an embrace.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Book #Firsts #Embrace

  • Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying 'Listen to me'.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Mean #Listening #Leap

  • In fiction, plenty do the job of conveying information, rousing suspense, painting characters, enabling them to speak. But only certain sentences breathe and shift about, like live matter in soil.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Jobs #Character #Suspense

  • Writing is one of the most assertive things a person can do.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Writing #Assertive #Persons

  • Isolation offered its own form of companionship: the reliable silence of her rooms, the steadfast tranquility of the evenings. The promise that she would find things where she put them, that there would be no interruption, no surprise. It greeted her at the end of each day and lay still with her at night.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Night #Silence #Promise

  • I am drawn to any story that makes me want to read from one sentence to the next. I have no other criterion.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Stories #Want #Next

  • They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Trying #Impossible #Lifetime

  • Each day she removes a small portion of the unwanted things in people's lives, though all of it, she thinks, was previously wanted, once useful. She feels the sun scorching the back of her neck. The heat is at its worst now, the rains still a few months away. The task satisfies her. It passes the time.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Rain #Thinking #People

  • Most people trusted in the future, assuming that their preferred version of it would unfold. Blindly planning for it, envisioning things that weren't the case. This was the working of the will. This was what gave the world purpose and direction. Not what was there but what was not.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #People #Purpose #World

  • She is stunned that in this town there are no sidewalks to speak of, no streetlights, no public transportation, no stores for miles at at a time.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Towns #Speak #Stores

  • Do what I will never do.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

  • The knowledge of death seemed present in both sisters-it was something about the way they carried themselves, something that had broken too son and had not mended, marking them in spite of their lightheartedness.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Son #Broken #Way

  • Try to remember it always," he said once Gogol had reached him, leading him slowly back across the breakwater, to where his mother and Sonia stood waiting. "Remember that you and I made this journey together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Mother #Journey #Waiting

  • For that story, I took as my subject a young woman whom I got to know over the course of a couple of visits. I never saw her having any health problems - but I knew she wanted to be married.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Couple #Saws #Stories

  • On a sticky August evening two weeks before her due date, Ashima Ganguli stands in the kitchen of a Central Square apartment, combining Rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in bowl.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #August #Two #Squares

  • Gogol remembers having to do the same thing when he was younger, when his grandparents died...He remembers, back then, being bored by it, annoyed at having to observe a ritual no one else he knew followed, in honor of people he had seen only a few times in his life...Now, sitting together at the kitchen table at six-thirty every evening, his father's chair empty, this meatless meal is the only thing that seems to make sense.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Father #Grandparent #Bored

  • While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary. I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination." (from "The Third and Final Continent")
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Hero #Home #Moon

  • She had listened to him, partly sympathetic, partly horrified. For it was one thing for her to reject her background, to be critical of her family's heritage, another to hear it from him.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Heritage #Sympathetic #Backgrounds

  • He tries to peel the image from the sticky yellow backing, to show her the next time he sees her, but it clings stubbornly, refusing to detach cleanly from the past.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Past #Yellow #Trying

  • In the days that follow, he begins to remember things about Moushumi, images that come to him without warning while he is sitting at his desk at work, or during a meeting, or drifting off to sleep, or standing in the mornings under the shower. They are scenes he has carried within him, buried but intact, scenes he has never thought about or had reason to conjure up until now.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Morning #Sleep #Sitting

  • One hand, five homes. A lifetime in a fist.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Home #Hands #Fists

  • Gogol is unaccustomed to this sort of talk at mealtimes, to the indulgent ritual of the lingering meal, and the pleasant aftermath of bottles and crumbs and empty glasses that clutter the table.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Glasses #Meals #Aftermath

  • My grandfather says that's what books are for," Ashoke said, using the opportunity to open the volume in his hands. "To travel without moving an inch.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Moving #Book #Opportunity

  • ...that in spite of living in a mansion an American is not above wearing a pair of secondhand pants, bought for fifty cents.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Fifty #Pants #Pairs

  • She watched his lips forming the words, at the same time she heard them under her skin, under her winter coat, so near and full of warmth that she felt herself go hot.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Winter #Skins #Lips

  • But she has gathered that Americans, in spite of their public declarations of affection, in spite of their miniskirts and bikinis, in spite of their hand-holding on the street and lying on top of each other on the Cambridge Common, prefer their privacy.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Lying #Hands #Bikinis

  • She supposed that all those years of loving a person who was dishonest had taught her a few things.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Years #Taught #Persons

  • And wasn't it terrible, how much he looked forward to those moments, so much so that sometimes even a ride by himself on the subway was the best part of the day? Wasn't it terrible that after all the work one put into finding a person to spend one's life with, after making a family with that person, even in spite of missing that person...that solitude was what one relished the most, the only thing that, even in fleeting, diminished doses, kept one sane?
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Missing #Solitude #Subway

  • There were times Ruma felt closer to her mother in death than she had in life, an intimacy born simply of thinking of her so often, of missing her. But she knew that this was an illusion, a mirage, and that the distance between them was now infinite, unyielding.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Mother #Distance #Thinking

  • I don't know why, but the older I get the more interested I get in my parents' marriage. And it's interesting to be married yourself, too, because there is an inevitable comparison.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Interesting #Parent #Married

  • I've seen novels that have grown out of one story in a collection. But it hasn't occurred to me to take any of those stories and build on them. They seem very finished for me, so I don't feel like going back and dredging them up.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Stories #Dredging #Novel

  • I approach writing stories as a recorder. I think of my role as some kind of reporting device - recording and projecting.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Writing #Thinking #Roles

  • Relationships do not preclude issues of morality.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Issues #Morality

  • When I sit down to write, I don't think about writing about an idea or a given message. I just try to write a story which is hard enough.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Writing #Thinking #Ideas

  • The urge to convert experience into a group of words that are in a grammatical relation to one another is the most basic, ongoing impulse of my life.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Groups #Ongoing #Relation

  • Ive inherited a sense of that loss from my parents because it was so palpable all the time while I was growing up, the sense of what my parents had sacrificed in moving to the United States, and yet at the same time, building a life here and all that that entailed.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Growing Up #Moving #Loss

  • It didn't matter that I wore clothes from Sears; I was still different. I looked different. My name was different. I wanted to pull away from the things that marked my parents as being different.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Names #Clothes #Parent

  • In New York I was always so scared of saying that I wrote fiction. It just seemed like, 'Who am I to dare to do that thing here? The epicenter of publishing and writers?' I found all that very intimidating and avoided writing as a response.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #New York #Writing #Fiction

  • With children the clock is reset. We forget what came before
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Children #Forget #Clock

  • It's easy to set a story anywhere if you get a good guidebook and get some basic street names, and some descriptions, but, for me, yes, I am indebted to my travels to India for several of the stories.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Names #India #Stories

  • It interests me to imagine characters shifting from one situation and one location to another for whatever the circumstances may be.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Character #May #Location

  • Amid the gray, an incongruous band of daytime blue asserts itself. To the west, a pink sun already begins its descent. The effect is of three isolated aspects, distinct phases of the day. All of it, strewn across the horizon, is contained in his vision.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Blue #Vision #Three

  • I always think first about the nature of the story. When I had the idea for 'The Namesake,' I felt that it had to be a novel - it couldn't work as a story.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Thinking #Ideas #Stories

  • Isolation offered its own form of companionship
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Companionship #Isolation #Form

  • We are all #humans and we all make #mistakes. We #hurt people even if we don't want to.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Hurt #Mistake #People

  • It is a magical thing for a handful of words, artfully arranged, to stop time. To conjure a place, a person, a situation, in all its specificity and dimensions. To affect us and alter us, as profoundly as real people and things do.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Real #People #Dimensions

  • On the screen I saw tanks rolling through dusty streets, and fallen buildings, and forests of unfamiliar trees into which East Pakistani refugees had fled, seeking safety over the Indian border.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Safety #Tree #Tanks

  • I dream of writing a book like LOVERS some day. It is so spare but so rich. It is history made intimate, and a masterpiece of compression.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Dream #Book #Writing

  • The first sentence of a book is a handshake, perhaps an embrace. Style and personality are irrelevant. They can be formal or casual. They can be tall or short or fat or thin. They can obey the rules or break them. But they need to contain a charge. A live current, which shocks and illuminates.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Book #Personality #Style

  • You remind me of everything that followed.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

  • She has the gift of accepting her life.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Accepting

  • The sky was different, without color, taut and unforgiving. But the water was the most unforgiving thing, nearly black at times, cold enough, I knew, to kill me, violent enough to break me apart. The waves were immense, battering rocky beaches without sand. The farther I went, the more desolate it became, more than any place I'd been, but for this very reason the landscape drew me, claimed me as nothing had in a long time.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Beach #Color #Sky

  • War will bring the revolution; revolution will stop the war,
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #War #Revolution

  • A lot of my upbringing was about denying or fretting or evading,
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Upbringing

  • She learned that an act intended to express love could have nothing to do with it. That her heart and her body were different things.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Heart #Different #Body

  • A writer has to true to him or herself. Period. That’s it!
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Periods

  • I wanted to pull away from the things that marked my parents as being different.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Parent #Being Different #Different

  • A bicultural upbringing is a rich but imperfect thing
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Imperfect #Rich #Upbringing

  • And yet he had loved her. A Bookish girl heedless of her beauty, unconscious of her effect. She'd been prepared to live her life alone but from the moment he'd known her he'd needed her.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Girl #Her Beauty #Moments

  • If I stop to think about fans, or best-selling, or not best-selling, or good reviews, or not-good reviews, it just becomes too much. It's like staring at the mirror all day.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Thinking #Mirrors #Fans

  • The most compelling narrative, expressed in sentences with which I have no chemical reaction, or an adverse one, leaves me cold.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Narrative #Cold #Chemical Reactions

  • I've never had Internet access. Actually, I have looked at things on other people's computers as a bystander. A few times in my life I've opened email accounts, twice actually, but it's something I don't want in my life right now.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Bystanders #People #Email

  • My parents had an arranged marriage, as did so many other people when I was growing up. My father came and had a life in the United States one way and my mother had a different one, and I was very aware of those things. I continue to wonder about it, and I will continue to write about it.
    -- Jhumpa Lahiri

    #Mother #Growing Up #Father