Nicole Krauss

{EN} The History of Love – Nicole Krauss

1. “There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness. I courted it. It was standing outside, and I invited it in. I scowled at the world. And the world scowled back.”

2. “Holding hands, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together.”

3. “A man should buy a suit for life, not for death.”

4. ““It’s better when it’s a secret.” “Why?” “So no one can take it from us.””

5. “I was afraid for myself. In that cold room, I sensed my own death. In the corner was a sink with cracked tiles. Down that drain had gone all the clipped nails, hairs, and grains of dirt washed from the dead. The faucet had a leak, and with every drip I felt my life ebbing away. One day it would be all gone. The joy of being alive became so concentrated in me I wanted to scream. I was never a religious child. But. Suddenly I felt the need to beg God to spare me as long as possible.”

6. “There are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others, and those who prefer to be sad alone.”

7. “Perhaps that is what it means to be a father—to teach your child to live without you.”

8. “At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that’s why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.”

9. “Since then I’ve lived with the guilt of understanding too late that she thought she would have been a burden to me. I lost Fritzy. He was studying in Vilna, Tateh—someone who knew someone told me he’d last been seen on a train. I lost Sari and Hanna to the dogs. I lost Herschel to the rain. I lost Josef to a crack in time. I lost the sound of laughter. I lost a pair of shoes, I’d taken them off to sleep, the shoes Herschel gave me, and when I woke they were gone, I walked barefoot for days and then I broke down and stole someone else’s. I lost the only woman I ever wanted to love. I lost years. I lost books. I lost the house where I was born. And I lost Isaac. So who is to say that somewhere along the way, without my knowing it, I didn’t also lose my mind?”

10. “Why can’t it be things, which have more permanence, like the sky or the sea, or even ideas, which never really die, not even bad ones?”

11. “He’d argued with her, saying it was too personal, a private matter, but she’d pushed and pushed, softening his resistance until he finally broke down and agreed. Because wasn’t that what wives of artists were meant to do? Husband their husbands’ work into the world, which, without them, would be lost to obscurity?”

12. “Every year, the memories I have of my father become more faint, unclear, and distant. Once they were vivid and true, then they became like photographs, and now they are more like photographs of photographs. But sometimes, at rare moments, a memory of him will return to me with such suddenness and clarity that all the feeling I’ve pushed down for years springs out like a jack-in-the-box.”

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