Enigma Variations Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
Enigma Variations Enigma Variations by André Aciman
3,992 ratings, 3.76 average rating, 554 reviews
Open Preview
Enigma Variations Quotes Showing 1-30 of 76
“So I waited. Then I got used to waiting. Eventually, waiting was more real than what we had.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“You know nothing about me. You see me. But you don't see me. Everyone else sees me. And yet no one has the foggiest notion of the gathering storm within me. It's my secret private little hell. I live with it, I sleep with it. I love that no one knows. I wish you knew. Sometimes I fear you do.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“I belonged here the way I belonged to this planet and its people, but on one condition: alone, always alone.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“We love only once in our lives, my father had said, sometimes too early, sometimes too late; the other times are always a touch deliberate.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“And then it hits me: I've lost you. You now rank among the things I'll always regret: opportunities lost, children never had, things I might have accomplished or done far better, lovers who have come and gone.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“We make assumptions about how our lives are being charted without knowing that we’re even making these assumptions—which is the beauty of assumptions: they anchor us without the slightest clue that what we’re doing is trusting that nothing changes. We believe that the street we live on will remain the same and bear its name forever. We believe that our friends will stay our friends, and that those we love we’ll love forever. We trust and, by dint of trusting, forget we trusted.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“You're alone, as I'm alone, and the cruelest thing is that finding each other and saying let us be alone together won't solve a thing.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“Everything tells me you care for me. And yet never a sign from you.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
You made me who I am today, Nanni. Wherever I go, everyone I see and crave is ultimately measured by the glow of your light. If my life were a boat, you were the one who stepped on board, turned on its running lights, and was never heard from again. All this might as well be in my head, and in my head it stays. But I've lived and loved by your light alone. In a bus, on a busy street, in class, in a crowded concert hall, once or twice a year, whether for a man or a woman, my heart still jolts when I spot your look-alike. We love only once in our lives, my father had said, sometimes too early, sometimes too late; the other times are always a touch deliberate.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“We loved with every organ but the heart.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“Yes, the past is a foreign country," I said, "but some of us are full-fledged citizens, others occasional tourists, and some floating itinerants, itching to get out yet always aching to return."

"There's a life that takes place in ordinary time," I said, "and another that bursts in but just as suddenly fizzles out. And then there's the life we may never reach but that could so easily be ours if only we knew how to find it. It doesn't necessarily happen on our planet, but is just as real as the one we live by—call it our 'star life.' Nietzsche wrote that estranged friends may become declared enemies but in some mysterious way continue to remain friends, though on a totally different sphere. He called these 'star friendships.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“. . . love, which happens only once in life, and thereafter is never quite spontaneous or impulsive.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“I wanted to scream. When I'm with you, I feel I can take what others call my life and turns its face away from the wall. My entire life faces the wall except when I'm with you. I stare at my life and want to undo every mistake, every deceit, turn a new leaf, turn the table, turn the clock. I want to put a real face on my life, not the drab front I've been wearing since forever. So why can't I speak to you now?”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“I live for this. And if this is all there is, well, this is all there is.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“There is no love without desire, diffidence, defeat.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
tags: love
“And yet my life started here and stopped here one summer long ago, in this house, which no longer exists, in this decade, which slipped away so fast, with this never love that altered everything but went nowhere.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“What was sad was knowing she was most likely the last reminder that there might never be another go. We might still communicate, might still meet for coffee, but the dream was gone, the hand across the table was gone, the square itself was gone.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“Tonight the rain feels so meek and muted that brushing it away with a hand might make it stop. It lacks conviction, has lost its vigor. Don't bother with umbrellas, it seems to say. I'm about to stop anyway, my heart's not in it tonight.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“Yes, the past is a foreign country", I said, "but some of us are full-fledged citizens, others occasional tourists, and some floating itinerants, itching to get out yet always aching to return.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“And just as you utter these words, I know with unshakable certainty that those few minutes when we walk hand in hand together are, even in a dream, more real and better than anything I'd ever known in life, and that I would be lying if I called what I've been doing all these years living.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“Occasionally you'll say "Excuse me" when I happen to stand in your way, and "Thank you" when your ball drifts into my court and I hurl it back to you. With these few words, I find comfort in false hopes and hope in false starts. I'll coddle anything instead of nothing. Even thinking that nothing can come of nothing gives me a leg to stand on, something to consider when I wake up in the middle of the night and can see nothing, not the blackout in my life, not the screen, not the cellar, not even hope and false comforts -just the joy of your imagined limb touching mine. I prefer the illusion of perpetual fasting to the certainty of famine. I have, I think, what's called a broken heart.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“As long as we can be one with something, anything, we're okay.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“The past may or may not be a foreign country. It may morph or lie still, but its capital is always Regret, and what flushes through it is the grand canal of unfledged desires that feed into an archipelago of tiny might-have-beens that never really happened but aren't unreal for not happening and might still happen though we fear they never will. And I thought of Ole Brit holding back so much, as we all do when we look back to see that the roads we've left behind or not taken have all but vanished. Regret is how we hope to back into our real lives once we find the will, the blind drive and courage, to trade in the life we're given for the life that bears our name and ours only. Regret is how we look forward to things we've long lost yet never really had. Regret is hope without conviction, I said. We're torn between regret, which is the price to pay for things not done, and remorse, which is the cost for having done them. Between one and the other, time plays all its cozy little tricks.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“But the whole thing didn't go anywhere—though it never went away either. It just sat there, no past, no future, like a glass of wine filled to the rim but never drunk from.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“I myself was nothing more than a collection of marginal selves who sit out their time like unpaid stevedores on an unfinished pier where no boats ever dock.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“And I am the most miserable man alive, and more so because no one at this dinner table has the slightest notion of what's tearing me up.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“If only I could dream of you. Sometimes I do. But not often enough. Dreams are like practice runs and mini-rehearsals; they tell us what we'll do, when to ask, how we'll touch when the time comes, if the time comes.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“This doesn’t end, whatever happens. Never, never ends.” I tightened my arms around her. “Star love, my love, star love. It may not live but it never dies. It’s the only thing I’m taking with me, and you will too, when the time comes.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“I'm looking at all this and I'm thinking that one day I won't be here to see it and I know I'll miss it, even if I won't have a heartbeat to miss anything. I miss it now for the-days-when, the way I miss places I've never traveled to or things I've never done." "What things have you never done?" "You're young and you're very handsome—how could you possibly understand?" He removed his arm. He lived in a future that wouldn't be his to live in and longed for a past that hadn't been his either. There was no turning back and no going forward. I felt for him.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations
“Your problem is not that you misread signs; all you see are signs.”
André Aciman, Enigma Variations

« previous 1 3