The Yiddish Policemen's Union Quotes

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The Yiddish Policemen's Union The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
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The Yiddish Policemen's Union Quotes (showing 1-30 of 42)
“Every generation loses the Messiah it has failed to deserve.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“It never takes longer than a few minutes, when they get together, for everyone to revert to the state of nature, like a party marooned by a shipwreck. That's what a family is. Also the storm at sea, the ship, and the unknown shore. And the hats and the whiskey stills that you make out of bamboo and coconuts. And the fire that you light to keep away the beasts.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“My Saturday Night. My Saturday night is like a microwave burrito. Very tough to ruin something that starts out so bad to begin with.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“I don't care what is written," Meyer Landsman says. "I don't care what supposedly got promised to some sandal-wearing idiot whose claim to fame is that he was ready to cut his own son's throat for the sake of a hare-brained idea. I don't care about red heifers and patriarchs and locusts. A bunch of old bones in the sand. My homeland is in my hat. It's in my ex-wife's tote bag.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Jesus Fucking Christ,” she says with that flawless hardpan accent of hers. It is an expression that always strikes Landsman as curious, or at least as something that he would pay money to see.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Bina, thank you. Bina, listen, this guy. His name wasn't Lasker. This guy-'

She puts a hand to his mouth. She has not touched him in three years. It probably would be too much to say that he feels the darkness lift at the touch of her fingertips against his lips. But it shivers, and light bleeds in among the cracks.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“When some drunken fool asked if she was a lesbian, she would say, 'In everything but sexual preference.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“He has the memory of a convict, the balls of a fireman, and the eyesight of a housebreaker. When there is crime to fight, Landsman tears around Sitka like a man with his pant leg caught on a rocket. It's like there's a film score playing behind him, heavy on the castanets. The problem comes in the hours when he isn't working, when his thoughts start blowing out the open window of his brain like pages from the blotter. Sometimes it takes a heavy paperweight to pin them down.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Like 90 percent of the television they watch, it comes from the south and is shown dubbed into Yiddish. It concerns the adventures of a pair of children with Jewish names who look like they might be part Indian and have no visible parents. They do have a crystalline magical dragon scale that they wish on in order to travel to a land of pastel dragons, each distinguished by its color and its particular brand of imbecility. Little by little, the children spend more and more time with their magical dragon scale until one day they travel off to the land of rainbow idiocy and never return; their bodies are found by the night manager of their cheap flop, each with a bullet in the back of the head. Maybe, Landsman thinks, something gets lost in the translation.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Get dressed,' Bina says. 'And do yourself a favor? Clean this shit up. Look at this dump. I can't believe you're living like this. Sweet God, aren't you ashamed of yourself?'

Once Bina Gelbfish believed in Meyer Landsman. Or she believed from the moment she met him, that there was a sense in that meeting, that some detectable intention lay behind their marriage. They were twisted like a pair of chromosomes, of course they were, but where Landsman saw in that twisting together only a tangle, a chance snarling of lines, Bina saw the hand of the Maker of Knots. And for her faith, Landsman repaid her with his faith in Nothing itself.

'Only every time I see your face,' Landsman says.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Every Messiah fails, the moment he tries to redeem himself. ”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“And that was when you realized the fire was inside you all the time. And that was the miracle. Just that.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“...Landsman doesn't buy that. Bina never stopped wanting to redeem the world. She just let the world she was trying to redeem get smaller and smaller until at one point, it could be bounded in the hat of a hopeless policeman.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Bina rolls her eyes, hands on her hips, glances at the door. Then she comes over and drops her bag and plops down beside him. How many times, he wonders, can she have enough of him, already, and still have not quite enough?”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Fuck what is written," Landsman says. “You know what?" All at once he feels weary of ganefs and prophets, guns and sacrifices and the infinite gangster weight of God. He's tired of hearing about the promised land and the inevitable bloodshed required for its redemption. “I don't care what is written. I don't care what supposedly got promised to some sandal-wearing idiot whose claim to fame is that he was ready to cut his own son's throat for the sake of a hare-brained idea. I don't care about red heifers and patriarchs and locusts. A bunch of old bones in the sand. My homeland is in my hat. It's in my ex-wife's tote bag.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“He didn't want to be what he wasn't, he didn't know how to be what he was.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“But there was always a shortfall, wasn't there? Between the match that the Holy One, blessed be He, envisioned and the reality of the situation under the chuppah. Between commandment and observance, heaven and earth, husband and wife, Zion and Jew. They called that shortfall 'the world.' Only when Messiah came would the breach be closed, all separations, distinctions, and distances collapsed. Until then, thanks be unto His Name, sparks, bright sparks, might leap across the gap, as between electric poles. And we must be grateful for their momentary light.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“The exaltation of understanding; then understanding's bottomless regret.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Bina and Landsman were twisted together, a braided pair of chromosomes with a mystery flaw. And now? Now each of them pretends not to see the other and looks away.

Landsman looks away.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“But the boy had a gift. And it was in the nature of a gift that it be endlessly given. ”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“A mere redrawing of borders, a change in governments, those things can never faze a Jewess with a good supply of hand wipes in her bag.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Like most policemen, Landsman sails double-hulled against tragedy, stabilized against heave and storm. It's the shallows he has to worry about, the hairline fissures, the little freaks of torque. The memory of that summer, for example, or the thought that he had long since exhausted the patience of a kid who once would have waited a thousand years to spend an hour with him shooting cans off a fence with an air rifle. The sight of the Longhouse breaks some small, as yet unbroken facet of Landman's heart. All of the things they made, during their minute in this corner of the map, dissolved in brambles of salmonberry and oblivion.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Landsman recognizes the expression on Dick's face...The face of a man who feels he was born into the wrong world. A mistake has been made; he is not where he belongs. Every so often he feels his heart catch, like a kite on a telephone wire, on something that seems to promise him a home in the world or a means of getting there. An American car manufactured in his far-off boyhood, say, or a motorcycle that once belonged to the future king of England, or the face of a woman worthier than himself of being loved.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“It takes a sour woman to make a good pickle.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Naomi was a tough kid, so much tougher than Landsman ever needed to be. She was two years younger, close enough for everything Landsman did or said to constitute a mark that must be surpassed or a theory to disprove. She was boyish as a girl and mannish as a woman. When some drunken fool asked if she was a lesbian, she would say, “In everything but sexual preference.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“An invisible gas clouds his thoughts, exhaust from a bus left with its engine running in the middle of his brain.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“The day you ever have that much control over my behavior, it will be because somebody's asking you, should she get the pine box or a plain white shroud?”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Every hour that passes, another hundredweight of sand is poured in through a tiny hole in Landsman's soul. After his eyes are closed, what happens is never quite sleep, and the thoughts that plague him, though atrocious, are never quite dreams.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“Miracles prove nothing except to those whose faith is bought very cheap, sir.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union
“She reaches down into her bulging tote bag and pulls out a small plastic box with a hinged lid. It contains a round pill box with a threaded lid from which she tips out a vitamin pill, a fish-oil pill, and the enzyme tablet that lets her stomach digest milk. Inside the hinged plastic box she also carries packets of salt, pepper, horseradish, and hand-wipes, a doll size bottle of Tabasco sauce, chlorine pills for treating drinking water, Pepto-Bismol chews, and God knows what else. If you go to a concert, Bina has opera glasses. If you need to sit on the grass, she whips out a towel. Ant traps, a corkscrew, candles and matches, a dog muzzle, a penknife, a tiny aerosol can of freon, a magnifying glass - Landsman has seen everything come out of that overstuffed cowhide at one time or another.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union

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