Famous Quotes & Sayings

Rebecca Makkai Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 48 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Rebecca Makkai.

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In a short story, you can use someone - we're only going to be with that person for maybe 10 pages, and they can have sort of a one note personality. And in a novel, you need to have arrows pointing more than one direction for that person. — Rebecca Makkai

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The times I've tried not to be funny, it's never worked, and the times I'm trying not to be dark and just be funny, that never works, either. As varied as my subject matter is, I think the worldview is pretty consistent: seeing darkness and seeing humor. — Rebecca Makkai

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I believed that books might save him because I knew they had so far, and because I knew the people books had saved. — Rebecca Makkai

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Very few writers thank their mothers for keen editorial insight; I'm happy to be the exception. — Rebecca Makkai

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With short stories, you can always see the whole, but it's just so hard to get everything you want into that small form. — Rebecca Makkai

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I no longer believe I can save people. I've tried, and I've failed, and while I'm sure there are people out there in the world with that particular gift, I'm not one of them ... But books, on the other hand: I do still believe that books can save you. — Rebecca Makkai

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In a library in Missouri that was covered with vines
Lived thousands of books in a hundred straight lines
A boy came in at half past nine
Every Saturday, rain or shine
His book selections were clan-des-tine. — Rebecca Makkai

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I refused to have bookshelves, horrified that I'd feel compelled to organise the books in some regimented system - Dewey or alphabetical or worse - and so the books lived in stacks, some as tall as me, in the most subjective order I could invent.
Thus Nabokov lived between Gogol and Hemingway, cradled between the Old World and the New; Willa Cather and Theodore Dreiser and Thomas Hardy were stacked together not for their chronological proximity but because they all reminded me in some way of dryness (though in Dreiser's case I think I was focused mainly on his name): George Eliot and Jane Austen shared a stack with Thackeray because all I had of his was Vanity Fair, and I thought that Becky Sharp would do best in the presence of ladies (and deep down I worried that if I put her next to David Copperfield, she might seduce him). — Rebecca Makkai

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These were wise, modern children, and they knew: a mother could be a witch, a child could be a criminal. A librarian could be a thief. — Rebecca Makkai

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You realize something once, when you are nine, and then you realize it again when you are ten, and you realize when you are eleven, twelve, but every year you see that what you thought you understood a year ago, no, wait it is ten times worse. And your heart fills up with lead. — Rebecca Makkai

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Writing a short story is like painting a picture on the head of a pin. And just getting everything to fit is - sometimes seems impossible. Writing a novel, though, is - has its own challenges of scope. And I think of that as painting a mural, where the challenge is that if you are close enough to work on it, you're too close to see the whole thing. — Rebecca Makkai

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We aren't haunted by the dead, but by the impossible reach of history. By how unknowable these others are to us, how unfathomable we'd be to them. — Rebecca Makkai

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Without knowing I was going to, I started to laugh, a crazy laugh like Ian's the night before, and at first he looked worried, but then he started too. Even with the wind whipping past the station, even with Ian hugging his backpack to his chest for warmth, we were laughing, and not a laughter of release or a laughter that was really sadness in disguise. It was the laugh of the absurd. Your grandmother is a seventeen-year-old boy? That creepy Russian man just paid for your ticket? Ferret-Glo? — Rebecca Makkai

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I have the distinct feeling that when I'm old, and I look back on my life, my thirties will be one huge blur. There's a lot that gets neglected: exercise, dishes, laundry, my poor garden. I try to prioritize the important but non-urgent things over the unimportant but urgent things. — Rebecca Makkai

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She had abruptly flipped from the southern belle and was now putting on the extremely businesslike air of those perfectionist women who'd only worked in the professional world for two or three years before stopping to have children and were now terrified of not being taken seriously. — Rebecca Makkai

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Despite its challenges, the novel offers an opportunity to live in one story for years of your imaginative life. There's a tremendous richness to that. — Rebecca Makkai

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Isn't it what all librarians strive toward, at least in the movies and cliches? Silence, invisibility, nothing but a rambling cloud of old book dust. — Rebecca Makkai

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The whole damn century would've made more sense backwards. Where we ended is worse than where we began. — Rebecca Makkai

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I could put a book in his hands, but I couldn't take him by the ankles and dip him headfirst in another world. And for some reason, I knew even then that he needed it. — Rebecca Makkai

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History was safer than the news, because there was no question of how it would end. ~ "The Briefcase — Rebecca Makkai

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I've only cried at one book, but I'm too embarrassed to tell you which. It wasn't terribly intellectual. I will admit, though, to crying when I've read books aloud to my elementary class. We read a biography of Gandhi once, and it was very difficult to read the part where Gandhi was killed, because they were waiting for a happy ending. — Rebecca Makkai

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I grew up writing. It was very natural in my household. My father was a poet, and his mother had been a novelist back in Hungary. I don't think I really thought about it being my career until high school, which is still pretty early, but it was a while there of just assuming this was something everyone did all day long. — Rebecca Makkai

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Maybe that's why I prefer this new library to my own bedroom: looking at the million book spines, I can imagine a million alternate endings. It turned out the butler did it all, or I ended up marrying Mr. Darcy, or we went and watched a girl ride the merry-go-round in Central Park, or we beat on against the current in our little boats, or Atticus Finch was there when we woke up in the morning. — Rebecca Makkai

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[E]scaping is its own special brand of pain, and tied to you always are the strings of the souls who didn't save themselves. ~ "The Worst You Ever Feel — Rebecca Makkai

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The loneliest thing in the world is lying awake beside someone asleep. ~ "The November Story — Rebecca Makkai

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My sister's a musician. Everyone else in our family, it's either academics or artists of one kind or another. And those are the people that I think I like to hang out with, too. I think, you know, they're always interesting; they lead interesting lives, and I think they're important for everyone to read about because everyone is an artist in a way. — Rebecca Makkai

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Like a good American, I wanted to sue somebody. But like a good librarian, I just sat at my desk and waited. — Rebecca Makkai

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I taught myself to read when I was three by comparing the letters in my Mother Goose book with the rhymes I had memorised. — Rebecca Makkai

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All I knew were novels. It gave me pause, for a moment, that all my reference points were fiction, that all my narratives were lies. — Rebecca Makkai

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By then there had been other men. She'd flung herself at other closed windows. The windows never broke, but her heart, at the end, was in splinters. — Rebecca Makkai

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I did teach elementary school for quite a while, and so I didn't have to reach too far back for the titles and authors that populate the early chapters 'of The Borrower.' — Rebecca Makkai

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Ian once suggested that in addition to the mystery stickers and the sci-fi and animal ones, there should be special stickers for books with happy endings, books with sad endings, books that will trick you into reading the next in the series. 'There should be ones with big teardrops,' he said, 'like for the side of Where the Red Fern Grows. Because otherwise it isn't fair. Like maybe you're accidentally reading it in public, and then everyone will make fun of you for crying.' But what could I affix to the marvelous and perplexing tale of Ian Drake? A little blue sticker with a question mark, maybe. Crossed fingers. A penny in a fountain. — Rebecca Makkai

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We're all going about trying to make beauty in the world and trying to make order out of chaos. And that's what art is. — Rebecca Makkai

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There's a great social component to being a writer, to being an artist. — Rebecca Makkai

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If everything else were still the same, he'd have felt Zee's absence like a gaping hole. But if he could continue to reconfigure his entire life, there would be no missing place where Zee had been. — Rebecca Makkai

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Because I couldn't think of anything nonprofane to say at that moment, I said nothing. — Rebecca Makkai

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And second, everyone is so weird, but they're all completely accepted. It's like, okay, you have a pumpkin head, and that guy's made of tin, and you're a talking chicken, but what the hell, let's do a road trip. — Rebecca Makkai

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He started Number the Stars before we were even out of the store. "The only problem is, I already know how it ends," he said. "Because once when I looked at it back at the library, I found out."
"I do that too," I said. "It's a bad habit."
"But I never mean to." He was walking, talking, and reading all at the same time. "It's that I always have to look back and see how many pages there are, so I know when I'll be exactly halfway through, but then when I see the last page it's like my eyes suck up all the words. — Rebecca Makkai

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Sometimes I wish I could go back through time to meet Proust, just so I could give him my asthma inhaler. The poor guy. — Rebecca Makkai

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So here, patient listener: your soothing epilogue. Imagine him happy. Imagine him spinning in circles ... Imagine his heaven, where he can float through characters and books at will. (Let's dream him up a king, a giant, a boy who can fly.) Imagine him already there, under his covers with the flashlight. — Rebecca Makkai

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When you talk to an author - to any artist, really - you learn something about how they do what they do. I've never come away from that kind of experience feeling disillusioned, as if the magician had explained his tricks. I always find a greater appreciation for the form. — Rebecca Makkai

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And for what portion of human history had people even had desk jobs? — Rebecca Makkai

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Novelist and poet David Huddle is a quiet but fabulous writer, and he does adolescent longing better than anyone I know. — Rebecca Makkai

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We take most everything at face value. Otherwise how could we get by?" ~ "The Museum of the Dearly Departed — Rebecca Makkai

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If there was a common thread between the great warriors and runaways of my Hulkinov ancestors, and my father the pathological expatriate, and me, it was just that: hotheaded self-righteousness. And not the bad kind, either. We actually were right. We just cared more about being right than doing what was right. And we cared more about being right than about our own lives. — Rebecca Makkai

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I might be the villain of this story. — Rebecca Makkai

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I'd forgotten that all runaway stories end like this. Everyone goes home. Dorothy clicks her way back to Kansas, Ulysses sails his way home to his wife, Holden Caulfield breaks into his own apartment ... Here I was, just like Ian, just like Dorothy and everyone else, heading back home at last ... You think you can't go home again? It's the only place you can *ever* go. — Rebecca Makkai

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This is a nation of runaways. Every person comes from somewhere else. Even the Indians, they run once upon a time across the Alaskan land bridge. The blacks, they maybe didn't run from Africa, okay, but they ran from slavery. And the rest of us, we all ran from something. From the church, the state, the parents, the Irish potato bug. And I think this is why Americans are so restless. — Rebecca Makkai