Lives Other Than My Own
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Read between November 19 - December 24, 2017
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Andrew David
I really like this cover; the paperback cover makes me gag.
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We did have that little girl in the end, and we still trust that we’ll live out our days together.
Andrew David
Interesting that he chooses to let us know from the beginning that they make it...at least to the present. Is it because things get grim quick and so he's letting us know from the start that there's some kind of happy ending here?
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We were simply watching ourselves draw apart, without hostility, but with regret. It was too bad. For the umpteenth time I spoke of my inability to love,
Andrew David
This is not how I imagined breakups before Beth, as unlooked-for regrets without specific grievances. Also, interesting that he bears the blame for this orientation in the next sentences
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If she comes back soon, if we make love, then perhaps we won’t separate, perhaps we will grow old together after all. But she did not come back. She remained alone on the terrace
Andrew David
Vs him going to her...
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a scuba lesson at the dive club in the neighboring village.
Andrew David
I wonder whether they'd be alive with if they had done this
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my inability to love,
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because his fax was very important.
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Andrew David
Interesting that his first response to a story of potential devastation is curiosity
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Andrew David
Honest about his reactions -- could contrary to the title, his emotional responses are initially all petty and self focused
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Then he understood that the world had not come to an end, that he was alive, and that now the real nightmare was beginning.
Andrew David
Yikes
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knowing that they were living their last moments of happiness.
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This note or highlight contains a spoiler
Philippe shook his head: impossible. Juliette and Osandi had been at the water’s very edge, they’d never had a chance. No chance at all. They found her at the hospital, among the dozens—no, already the hundreds of corpses the ocean had given back and that now lay, for lack of room, right on the floor. Osandi and her father lay there, too.
Andrew David
He definitely doesn't bother holding you in suspense with darkness -- we aren't left to wonder if there's actually a chance the father-in-law is wrong and the kids are alive
5%
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Raft of the Medusa.
Andrew David
His references to events or people that I have to look up, like this escape raft in which most people died and some were eaten or the nazi athlete he mentioned earlier, are dark
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These ordinary annoyances, simply irritating in everyday life, become in this emergency both monstrous yet vital,
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It’s a kind of receipt, stating simply, “Little white girl, blond, in a red dress.”
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guilty conscience
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Only yesterday evening they were like us and we like them, but something happened to them and not us, so now we belong to two separate branches of humanity.
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watch. I wouldn’t admit it for the world but the truth is, I see the situation this way: my wife has gone off to live an intense experience with another man.
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When I’m with a woman, I never truly believe I’ll grow old by her side, that she’ll close my eyes or I hers.
Andrew David
Sad
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I tell myself that this long life together must happen: if I need to succeed at one thing before I die, it’s this.
Andrew David
Crazers unexpected stlry
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Philippe took me aside and asked, So, you’re a writer. Are you going to write a book about
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Andrew David
!
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As I always do when I arrive somewhere, I inspected the reading material on offer:
Andrew David
Yes! Me too!
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but except at those moments when she was talking about Juliette’s fate, or when she wasn’t but I saw that she’d been crying, the truth is that I hardly thought about it at
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Andrew David
This is also a theme of Erica's -- are we present to one another truly, even when the other isn't physically present with us? It was also a theme in an essay I just edited
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That particular life on its way out had nothing to do with my life, in which everything seemed to be opening, unfolding. What bothered me the most was that worry was eating away at Hélène and thus keeping me (although hardly at all, actually) from freely displaying, in her presence, the slightly manic euphoria that cheered me all that spring.
Andrew David
He's brutally honest about himself
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narcissistic thrill,
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Every so often she would get up to smoke a cigarette near the half-open window, and I would get up to join her. It was a nonsmoking room, so we used a plastic cup from the bathroom as an ashtray, with a little water in it so it wouldn’t melt. The water became a disgusting brew.
Andrew David
(It's funny how anti-antismoking they are)
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Patrice’s mother had read my book The Adversary (which Juliette had recommended to her, explaining that I was Hélène’s fiancé) and found it a hard story to read. I allowed as how yes, it was hard, and that it had been hard to write, too, and I felt vaguely ashamed of writing such hard things.
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They tell themselves that the affable, well-mannered guy helping slice cucumbers, who seems to be sincerely joining in the family mourning, must nevertheless be really twisted or really unhappy, because there’s something wrong with him, and the worst thing is, I have to admit they’re right.
Andrew David
!
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I try to imagine, as I write, how she’ll feel if she ever reads this book.
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had written three or four books that gave form to what I was.
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I was loved, yes, but I had not learned how to love—or hadn’t been able to, which is the same thing. No one had been able to rest in complete confidence in my love and I would not rest, at the end, in anyone else’s. That’s what I’d have said at the news of my impending death, before the wave hit. And then, after the wave, I chose you, we chose each other, and now nothing’s the same. You’re here, close to me, and if I had to die tomorrow I could say like Juliette that my life has been a success.
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This condolence visit to a one-legged judge struck me as somewhat absurd, but all I had to do was go along.
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Perhaps, quite simply, the desire to be of help. That’s a motive more mysterious to me than plain perversity.
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and we troop in one by one, introducing ourselves and shaking hands with our host, who doesn’t notice, now that the stairwell light has automatically switched off, that there’s still someone out on the landing—and closes the door in my face. I don’t know why but I find it funny (and so does he)
Andrew David
Ha?
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It was like watching a film you love beside someone who’s less impressed,
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Étienne interested her because he had been her sister’s friend and confidant. With me it was the opposite: it was because of what he’d said that I was beginning to take an interest in Juliette.
Andrew David
Our narrator is so honest about himself and the way he's sooooo self-focused.
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This note or highlight contains a spoiler
What’s more, they don’t even sleep together—and, at the end, she dies. Have I got that straight? That’s your story? Yes, I said. It is.
Andrew David
Ha
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He liked to talk about himself. It’s my way, he said, of talking to and about others, and he remarked astutely that it was my way, too. He knew that in talking about him, I would of necessity be talking about myself.
Andrew David
Yes this seems totally true of our narrator
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I, on the other hand, care intensely about chronology. I find ellipsis acceptable only as a rhetorical device, duly rationed and controlled by me, otherwise I can’t stand it.
Andrew David
Oooh interesting
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A Christian when with atheists, he became violently anticlerical in Christian company,
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Although not a believer, Étienne follows the teachings of the Gospel
Andrew David
I'm not sure what to make of the thread of people's reactions to faith...
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I believe he needs to disagree with people in order to agree with them.
Andrew David
I probably do this sometimes, but it drives Erica crazy.
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We’re always pleased when people who love us pounce on our shortcomings as extra reasons to love us. From then on, he consented more and more often to agree with me.
Andrew David
True! This is why I don't mind--perhaps even enjoy-- that there's out family (both sides) finds unity in doing this to me. Also, interesting that the dude's behavior changes when it's good-naturedly pointed out to him
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You didn’t understand? exclaims his father, upset and sorry that he’d been too vague. You have cancer.
Andrew David
Whoa.
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Andrew David
Disturbing image of cancer
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The cancerous cells are you, just like the healthy ones.
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Why does she get to go ahead of me when I have so much to do in life, while all she’s got left is to die? He wasn’t ashamed of this harsh attitude—on the contrary, it fed his pride. Sickness revolted him, sick people did too, and all that had nothing to do with him anymore.
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I don’t know if the preceding paragraph will appear in the book.
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