Native Speaker Quotes

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Native Speaker Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee
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Native Speaker Quotes (showing 1-17 of 17)
“I'm a B+ student of life.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“And perhaps most I loved this about her, her helpless way, love it still, how she can't hide a single thing, that she looks hurt when she is hurt, seems happy when happy. That I know at every moment the precise place where she stands. What else can move a man like me, who would find nothing as siren or comforting?”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“He said you could tell about a person not from what he believed, but by what worried him.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“This is how we were meant for each other. How we make our living. The lives of frustrated poets and imposters. This, too, how the love works and then doesn't: a mutual spectacle of imagination.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“The truth, finally, is who can tell it. ”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
tags: truth
“Suffering is the noblest art, the quieter the better.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“I would give most anything to hear my father's talk again, the crash and bang and stop of his language, always hurtling by. I will listen for him forever in the streets of this city.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“Sometimes, when he wanted to hide or not outright lie, he chose to speak in English. He used to break into it when he argued with my mother, and it drove her crazy when he did and she would just plead, "No, no!" as though he had suddenly introduced a switchblade into a clean fistfight.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“I wonder if my father, given the chance, would have wished to go back to the time before he made all that money, when he just had one store and we rented a tiny apartment in Queens. He worked hard and had worries but he had a joy then that he never seemed to regain once the money started coming in. He might turn on the radio and dance cheek to cheek with my mother. He worked on his car himself, a used green Impala with carburetor trouble. They had lots of Korean friends that they met in church and then even in the street, and when they talked in public there was a shared sense of how lucky they were, to be in America but still have countrymen near.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“She believed that displays of emotion signaled a certain failure between people. The only person who could upset her, make her cry or laugh in the open, was my father. He could always unsettle her face with a stern admonition or an old joke or pun in Korean. Otherwise, I thought she possessed the most exquisite control over the muscles of her face. She seemed to have the subtle power of inflection over them, the way a tongue can move air.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“In every betrayal dwells a self-betrayal.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“It is in the rules, a woman like that. There is no choice. With someone like Sophie, you are part of a greater agency, you make sure things are going right for her. If she is not mean-spirited or too selfish, you fall in love. You grow up, you become a man, you realize you have clear responsibilities. Then you are truly with her. You are partners.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“The constant cry is that you belong here, or you make yourself belong, or you must go. (1998: 319)”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“In America, he said, it’s even hard to stay Korean.”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“I knew I could have tried to comfort her, perhaps telling her how John Kim was probably just as hurt as she was and that his silence was more complicated than she presently understood. That perhaps the ways of his mother and his father had occupied whole regions of his heart. I know this. We perhaps depend too often on the faulty honor of silence, use it too liberally and for gaining advantage. I showed Lelia how this was done, sometimes brutally, my face a peerless mask, the bluntest instrument. (1998: 88-89)”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“The men I've been with have this idea to make me over. I feel like a rock in some boy's polishing kit. I go in dull, scratched up, and then rumble rumble whirr, I'm supposed to come out precious and sparkling again."
"Does it work?"
"They seem to think so."
"How do you feel?" I asked.
"A little smaller." (1998: 148- 149)”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker
“Or maybe another baby might have helped us. Another try. Of course, that's the worst reason to have a child, anyone on the street can tell you that, because no one can handle being an attempt at something from the very start, (1998: 200)”
Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker

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