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Jeffrey Eugenides quotes (showing 1-30 of 455)

“Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
“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, Middlesex
“She held herself very straight, like Audrey Hepburn, whom all women idolize and men never think about.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“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, The Virgin Suicides
“Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." 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." 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, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever. ”
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
“It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“We couldn't imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to her wrists and opened her veins, the emptiness and the calm.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“In the end, it wasn't death that surprised her but the stubbornness of life.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn’t fathom them at all. We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“I don’t know what you’re feeling. I won’t even pretend.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“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, Middlesex
“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, The Marriage Plot
“Dr. Armonson stitched up her wrist wounds. Within five minutes of the transfusion he declared her out of danger. Chucking her under the chin, he said, "What are you doing here, honey? You're not even old enough to know how bad life gets."

And it was then Cecilia gave orally what was to be her only form of suicide note, and a useless one at that, because she was going to live: "Obviously, Doctor," she said, "you've never been a thirteen-year-old girl.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“Can you see me? All of me? Probably not. No one ever really has.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
“In the end we had the pieces of the puzzle, but no matter how we put them together, gaps remained, oddly shaped emptinesses mapped by what surrounded them, like countries we couldn't name.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“A love story can never be about full possession. The happy marriage, the requited love, the desire that never dims--these are lucky eventualites but they aren't love stories. Love stories depend on disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart. Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name.

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.

And we certainly wouldn't write about it.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead
tags: love
“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, The Virgin Suicides
“The girls took into their own hands decisions better left to God. They became too powerful to live among us, too self-concerned, too visionary, too blind.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“I was thinking how amazing it was that the world contained so many lives. Out in these streets people were embroiled in a thousand different matters, money problems, love problems, school problems. People were falling in love, getting married, going to drug rehab, learning how to ice-skate, getting bifocals, studying for exams, trying on clothes, getting their hair-cut and getting born. And in some houses people were getting old and sick and were dying, leaving others to grieve. It was happening all the time, unnoticed, and it was the thing that really mattered.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
“She'd become an English major for the purest and dullest of reasons: because she loved to read.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot
“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, The Virgin Suicides
“We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“That was when Leonard realized something crucial about depression. The smarter you were, the worse it was. The sharper your brain, the more it cut you up.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot
“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, Middlesex
“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, Middlesex
“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, The Marriage Plot
“All wisdom ends in paradox.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
“You never get over it, but you get to where it doesn't bother you so much.”
Jeffrey Eugenides
“She understood that her heart operated on its own instructions, that she had no control over it or, indeed, anything else.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
“We realized that the version of the world they rendered for us was not the world they really believed in...”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

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