Noteworthy Quotations from The Reader

Sometimes the memory of happiness cannot stay true because it ended unhappily.

When an airplane’s engine fail, it is not the end of the flight. Airplanes don’t fall out of the sky like stones. They glide on, the enormous multi-engine the passenger jets, for thirty, forty-five minutes, only to smash themselves up when they attempt a landing. The passengers don’t notice a thing.

From the outside it is impossible to tell if you are disowning someone or simply exercising discretion, being considerate, avoiding embarrassments and sources of irritation.

When I try to understand it, I had a feeling I was failing to condemn it as it must be condemned. When I condemned it as it must be condemned, there was no room for understanding.

There’s no need to talk, because the truth of what one says lies in what one does

One can merely observe the richness of life in the past, where is one can participate in the present.

Doing history means building bridges between the past and the present, observing both banks of the river, taking an active part on both sides.

The disadvantage of reading aloud remained the fact that it took longer. But books read aloud also stayed long in my memory. Even today, I can remember things in them absolutely clearly.

If the right time gets messed, if one has refused or been refused something for too long, it’s too late, even if it is finally tackled with energy and received with joy.

I was astonished at how much older literature can actually be read as if it were contemporary; to anyone ignorant of history, it would be easy to see ways of life in earlier times simply as ways of life in foreign countries.

When no one understands you, then no one can call you to account.

The tectonic layers of our lives rest so tightly one on top of the other that we always come up against earlier events in later ones, not as matter that has been fully formed and pushed aside, but absolutely present and alive.

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