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Peter Høeg quotes (showing 1-30 of 171)

“To want to understand is an attempt to recapture something we have lost.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“Do you know what the mathematical expression is for longing? ... The negative numbers. The formalization of the feeling that you are missing something.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“I feel the same way about solitude as some people feel about the blessing of the church. It's the light of grace for me. I never close my door behind me without the awareness that I am carrying out an act of mercy toward myself.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“If you want to support others you have to stay upright yourself.”
Peter Høeg
“When my mother didn't come back I realized that any moment could be the last. Nothing in life should simply be a passage from one place to another. Each walk should be taken as if it is the only thing you have left. You can demand something like this of yourself as an unattainable ideal. After that, you have to remind yourself about it every time you're sloppy about something. For me that means 250 times a day.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“Falling in love has been greatly overrated. Falling in love consists of 45 percent fear of not being accepted, 45 percent manic hope that this time the fear will be put to shame and a modest 10 percent frail awareness of the possibility of love.
I don't fall in love any more. Just like I don't get the mumps.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
tags: love
“When you're young, you think that sex is the culmination of intimacy. Later you discover that it's barely the beginning.”
Peter Høeg
tags: sex
“There is one way to understand another culture. Living it. Move into it, ask to be tolerated as a guest, learn the language. At some point understanding may come. It will always be wordless. The moment you grasp what is foreign, you will lose the urge to explain it. To explain a phenomenon is to distance yourself from it.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“We think there are limits to the dimensions of fear. Until we encounter the unknown. Then we can all feel boundless amounts of terror.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“The problem with anger against God is that it's impossible to go higher in the system to complain.”
Peter Høeg
“Maybe it's wrong when we remember breakthroughs to our own being as something that occurs in discrete, extraordinary moments. Maybe falling in love, the piercing knowledge that we ourselves will someday die, and the love of snow are in reality not some sudden events; maybe they were always present. Maybe they never completely vanish, either.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“It may be necessary to stand on the outside of one is to see things clearly.”
Peter Høeg, Tales of the Night
“Once you have realised that there is no objective external world to be found; that what you know is only a filtered and processed version, then it is a short step to the thought that, in that case, other people too are nothing but a processed shadow, and but a short step more to the belief that every person must somehow be shut away, isolated behind their own unreliable sensory apparatus. And then the thought springs easily to mind that man is, fundamentally, alone. That the world is made up of disconnected consciousnesses, each isolated within the illusion created by its own senses, floating in a featureless vacuum.
He does not put it so bluntly, but the idea is not far away. That, fundamentally, man is alone.”
Peter Høeg, Borderliners
“We sat there and I knew that this was how it felt to be totally accepted. You sit close to another person and are understood, everything is understood and nothing is judged and you are indispensable.”
Peter Høeg
“There's a look of mischief in his eyes. 'Smilla. Why is it that such an elegant and petite girl like you has such a rough voice.'
I'm sorry,' I say, 'if I give you the impression that it is only my mouth that's rough. I do my best to be rough all over.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“Some thoughts have glue on them.----Smilla”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“Confronted with people who have power, and who enjoy using it, I turn into a different person, a baser and meaner one.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“She was transparent, like a watercolor. As if she were about to dissolve in sound, in tones not yet created.”
Peter Høeg, The Quiet Girl
“Under certain circumstances the fateful decisions in life, sometimes even in matters of life and death, are made with an almost indifferent ease. While the little things-for instance, the way people hang on to what is over-seem so important.”
Peter Høeg
“Those who were on the inside, the majority that is, for them it had been hard to get his point, mostly they were just pleased that they were on the inside, that they were the fittest.
For those on the outside, the fear and abandonment amounts to almost everything; everybody knows that.
Understanding is something one does best when one is on the borderline.”
Peter Høeg, Borderliners
“Grief is a gift, something you have to earn.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow
“Love has something to do with recognition, We can be fascinated by the unknown, we can be attracted by it, but love is something that grows, slowly, in an atmosphere of trust.”
Peter Høeg, The Quiet Girl
“The fear for oneself, that one can do something about. Upon it one can turn the light of awareness. But when one is no longer worrying about oneself, then the fear comes for other people and, after that, for the world.
There are no fearless people, only fearless moments.”
Peter Høeg
tags: fear
“When you let your mind go blank,' he said, 'or when you stop talking for a long time, something happens. Time becomes different. It goes away. It doesn't come back until you start to say something.”
Peter Høeg, Borderliners
“The great systems that inform the world about the truth and life invariably claim to be absolutely truthful and well-balanced. In reality they are quaking bridges built out of yearning.”
Peter Høeg, Tales of the Night
“No matter how close people get, they never reach each other. Including us now. Even now, there's a place where each of us is alone.”
Peter Høeg, The Quiet Girl
“..That's where we humans make a mistake. We don't see the utterly amazing when it comes to us disguised as the ordinary.”
Peter Høeg
“If you became blind," I said, "if you were used to finding your way around a house and then, suddenly, one day had an accident--was attacked or something--and became blind, only then would you actually notice the furniture. It would always have been there, but you would never have been aware of it, you would just have gone around it. Only when something becomes hard to cope with do you see it. That's how you become aware of time--when it becomes hard to cope with.”
Peter Høeg
“Around a child, people come and go, objects appear and are taken away, surroundings take shape and disintegrate. And no explanation is given, because how can you explain the world to a child?
So she had used the words. Words call forth and secure that which has gone away. With her lists she had ensured that whatever she had once known would come back”
Peter Høeg
tags: words
“No one who has lived side by side with animals that have plenty of room can ever visit the zoo.”
Peter Høeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow

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