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Motherless Brooklyn Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
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Motherless Brooklyn Quotes Showing 1-30 of 30
“Insomnia is a variant of Tourette's--the waking brain races, sampling the world after the world has turned away, touching it everywhere, refusing to settle, to join the collective nod. The insomniac brain is a sort of conspiracy theorist as well, believing too much in its own paranoiac importance--as though if it were to blink, then doze, the world might be overrun by some encroaching calamity, which its obsessive musings are somehow fending off.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Someday I'd change my name to Shut Up and save everybody a lot of time.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Consensual reality is both fragile and elastic, and it heals like the skin of a bubble.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Enough of this. Does every conversation with you have to be the director's cut? Get out of the car.”
Jonathan Lethem , Motherless Brooklyn
“A shadow strolled past the car, indifferent to our curbside melodrama. This was my second time imperiled in a a parked vehicle in the space of three hours. I wondered what goonish spectacles I'd overlooked in my own career as a pavement walker.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Tourette's is just one big lifetime of tag, really. The world (or my brain---same thing) appoints me it, again and again. So I tag back. Can it do otherwise? If you've ever been it you know the answer.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“I'm tightly wound. I'm a loose cannon. Both - I'm a tightly wound loose cannon, a tight loose.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“She craned up on her toes and kissed my cheek..."Don't do that", I said. "You just met me. This is New York.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“The wind was picking up off the ocean now and the whole coastal scene had a bleak, abandoned look, as though Maine in November really belonged to the ragged gulls who wheeled over the sun-worn pier, and the humans had just gotten the news and taken a powder.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Have you ever felt, in the course of reading a detective novel, a guilty thrill of relief at having a character murdered before he can step onto the page and burden you with his actual existence? Detective stories always have too many characters anyway. And characters mentioned early on but never sighted, just lingering offstage, take on an awful portentous quality. Better to have them gone.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“There is nothing Tourettic about the New York City subways.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“How strange it began to seem that cars have bodies that never are supposed to touch, a disaster if they do.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“He was permanently impressed by the most irrelevant banalities and impossible to impress with real novelty, meaning, or conflict. And he was too moronic to be properly self-loathing--so it was my duty to loathe him instead.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“I'm always serious. That's the tragedy of my life.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Guilt wants to cover all the bases, be everywhere at once, reach into the past to tweak, neaten and repair. Guilt like Tourettic utterance flows uselessly, inelegantly from one helpless human to another, contemptuous of perimeters, doomed to be mistaken or refused on delivery.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Once I had it free, I gobbled the sandwich like a nature-film otter cracking an oyster on its stomach: knees up in the wiring under the dashboard, my elbows jammed against the steering wheel, my chest serving as a table, my shirt as a tablecloth.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Waves, sky, trees, Essrog - I was off the page now, away from the grammar of skyscrapers and pavement.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“We were all four of us an arrangement around a missing centrepiece, as incoherent as a verb-less sentence.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“To tugboat was to try Minna's patience. Any time you pushed your luck, said too much, overstayed a welcome, or overestimated the usefulness of a given method or approach, you were guilty of having tugged the boat. Tugboating was most of all a dysfunction of wits and storytellers, and a universal one. Anybody who thought himself funny would likely tug a boat here or there. Knowing when a joke or verbal gambit was right at its limit, quitting before the boat had been tugged, that was art.”
jonathan lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Thing is, for me a woman has to have a certain amount of muffling, you know what I mean? Something between you, in the way of insulation. Otherwise, you're right up against her naked soul.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
tags: soul
“Prince's music calmed me as much as masturbation or a cheeseburger.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Minna Agency errands mostly stuck in Brooklyn, rarely far from Court Street, in fact. Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill together made a crisscrossed game board of Frank Minna’s alliances and enmities, and me and Gil Coney and the other Agency Men were the markers — like Monopoly pieces, I sometimes thought, tin automobiles or terriers (not top hats, surely) — to be moved around that game board. Here on the Upper East Side we were off our customary map, Automobile and Terrier in Candyland — or maybe in the study with Colonel Mustard.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
tags: games
“The big Nazi cat went on raking up thread-loops from my trousers, seemingly intent on single-handedly reinventing Velcro.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“His imprecision and laziness maddened my compulsive instincts—his patchiness, the way even his speech was riddled with drop-outs and glitches like a worn cassette, the way his leaden senses refused the world”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“We were all four of us an arrangement around a missing centrepiece, as incoherent as a been less sentence.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“He didn't hide his teeth, which were bright yellow, like the van we'd unloaded.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Counting is a symptom, but counting symptoms is also a symptom, a tick plus ultra. I've got meta-Tourette's. Thinking about ticcing, my mind racing, thoughts reaching to touch every possible symptom. Touching touching. Counting counting. Thinking thinking. Mentioning mentioning Tourette's. It's sort of like talking about telephones over the telephone, or mailing letters describing the location of various mailboxes. Or like a tugboater whose favorite anecdote concerns actual tugboats.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Wheels within wheels was another of Minna's phrases, used exclusively to sneer at our notions of coincidence or conspiracy. If we boys ever dabbled in astonishment at, say, his running into three girls he knew from high school in a row on Court Street, two of whom he'd dated behind each other's backs, he'd bug his eyes and intone, wheels within wheels. No met had ever pitched a no-hitter, but Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan both pitched them after being traded away---wheels within wheels.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“Does every conversation with you have to be the director’s cut?”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn
“…Carlotta hovered over us as we devoured her meatballs, running her floury fingers over the backs of our chairs, then gently touching our heads, the napes of our necks. We pretended not to notice, ashamed in front of one another and ourselves to show that we drank in her nurturance as eagerly as her meat sauce.”
Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn