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Diana Abu-Jaber Diana Abu-Jaber > Quotes


Diana Abu-Jaber quotes (showing 1-30 of 61)

“Marry, don't marry,' Auntie Aya says as we unfold layers of dough to make an apple strudel.

Just don't have your babies unless it's absolutely necessary.'

How do I know if it's necessary?'

She stops and stares ahead, her hands gloved in flour. 'Ask yourself, Do I want a baby or do I want to make a cake? The answer will come to you like bells ringing.' She flickers her fingers in the air by her ear. 'For me, almost always, the answer was cake.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, The Language of Baklava: A Memoir
“...tasting a piece of bread that someone bought is like looking at that person, but tasting a piece of bread that they baked is like looking out of their eyes.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“She stares at her knife and wishes she were smarter about things. Wishes she knew how to say something wise or consoling to him, something that wouldn't sound frightened or awkward. But then she remembers the time after her parents' death, when people would approach her and try to explain her loss to her; they said things that were supposed to cure her of her sadness, but that had no effect at all. And she knew then, even when she was nine years old, that there was no wise or consoling thing to say. There were certain helpful kinds of silences, and some were better than others. ”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“People look at you and forget about things.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“Consider the difference between the first and third person in poetry [...] It's like the difference between looking at a person and looking through their eyes.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“His expression seems a sort of surrender: the loss of a thing that he has already lost before.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“..cold, like swallowed tears.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“When Matussem Ramoud opened his eyes each morning, his wife would still not be there. ”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Arabian Jazz
“I’m in my junior year but I can’t take it anymore. The beige walls, the scent of linoleum and used lockers, the shrill bell between classes. High school is sucking the life out of me.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, The Language of Baklava: A Memoir
“Here is something you have to understand about stories: They point you in the right direction but they can't take you all the way there. Stories are crescent moons; they glimmer in the night sky, but they are most exquisite in their incomplete state. Because people crave the beauty of not-knowing, the excitement of suggestion, and the sweet tragedy of mystery.”
Diana Abu-Jaber
“Dad says that everyone invented baklava.” It occurs to me now to wonder what that means. Aunt Aya rolls her eyes.
“Your father? He is the worst of the worst. He thinks he cooks and eats Arabic food but these walnuts were not grown from Jordanian earth and this butter was not made from Jordanian lambs. He is eating the shadow of a memory. He cooks to remember but the more he eats, the more he forgets.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, The Language of Baklava: A Memoir
“The loneliness of the arab is a terrible thing; it is all consuming. It is already present like a little shadow under the heart when he lays his head on his mother's lap; it threatens to swallow him whole when he leaves his own country, even though he marries and travels and talks to friends twenty-four hours a day. That is the way Sirine suspects that Arabs feel everything - larger than life, feelings walking in the sky.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“Love and prayer are intimately related.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“Sometimes when she lies awake her body feels as finely made as a tuning fork. She can hear and smell the most delicate things, the smell and music of thought itself.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“There's a time when things go out of tune. It's not all the time. It's not even a lot of the time. But it is some of the time. And then you have to deal with it all. Everything comes out wrong. You dream about goats and monkeys. People start to look at things wrong. Maybe you think the world looks squashed and flat. Maybe you get stones in the bulgar and you burn the smoked wheat.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“You want to protect you children, don't you? You let them out of your body but you never let them all the way out.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“The streets of Aqaba are shell spirals and, on summer nights, crowded and complicated as a woman's heart.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“She let herself stray past the stage of sleep and even past the stage of remembering, and she wanders into the stage of soul-searching. Sometimes when she lies awake her body feels as finely made as a tuning fork. She can hear and smell the most delicate things, the smell and music of thought itself.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“The sky is white.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“He tells about his Sudanese roommate at Georgetown who owned a prayer rug with a compass to find Mecca built right into it. "After a few weeks in America, he rolled it up and used the compass to go camping," Han says.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“There's the man with his cart who sold me rolls sprinkled with thyme and sesame every morning and then saluted me like a soldier.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“He believes that this man has looped a bit of the thread-leash through a corner of his soul.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“..a phantasm, a pink-palmed jinn, a ghost from one of the drowned cities.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“Slavery has been outlawed in most arab countries for years now but there are villages in jordan made up entirely of descendants of runaway Saudi slaves. Abdulrahman knows he might be free, but hes still an arab. No one ever wants to be the arab - its too old and too tragic, too mysterious and too exasperating, and too lonely for anyone but an actual arab to put up with for very long. Essentially, its an image problem. Ask anyone, Persian, Turks, even Lebanese and Egyptians - none of them want to be the arab. They say things like, well, really we're indo-russian-asian european- chaldeans, so in the end the only one who gets to be the arab is the same little old bedouin with his goats and his sheep and his poetry about his goats and his sheep, because he doesnt know that he's the arab, and what he doesnt know wont hurt him.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“She wonders sometimes if it's a sort of flaw or lack in her - the inability to lose herself in someone else. . . . she's never quite understood how people could trade in quiet spaces and solitary gardens and courtyards, thoughtful walks and the delicious rhythms of work, for the fearful tumult of falling in love.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent
“You should prize this pain of yours. This is what will make you human all the way through. Nothing less will do that.”
Diana Abu-Jaber
“What about Danny Thomas?" Uncle Hal asks. "What happened to him?

"Dead," Uncle Abdelhafiz says. "Nice Lebanese boy."
"Never mind about Danny Thomas, look what happened to your whole family! Look at your cousin Farouq, Great Uncle Ziad, Auntie Seena and Jimmy's son Jalal," Aunt Jean cuts in disapprovingly.
"Dead, dead, dead, and in jail.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, The Language of Baklava: A Memoir
“The moment feels laden with mystery and tension, as if for one second the world has agreed to pay attention to time itself.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, The Language of Baklava: A Memoir
“This morning's pastry poses challenges. To assemble the tiny mosaic disks of chocolate flake and candied ginger, Avis must execute a number of discrete, ritualistic steps: scraping the chocolate with a fine grater, rolling the dough cylinder in large-grain sanding sugar, and assembling the ingredients atop each hand-cut disk of dough in a pointillist collage. Her husband wavers near the counter, watching. "They're like something Marie Antoinette would wear around her neck. When she still had one."
"I thought she was more interested in cake," Avis says, she tilts her narrow shoulders, veers around him to stack dishes in the sink.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Birds of Paradise

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