Literary Quotations
Browse quotes by source | Browse quotes by author

Quotes from:

A MAP OF THE WORLD

by: Jane Hamilton


I used to think if you fell from grace it was more likely than not the result of one stupendous error, or else an unfortunate accident. I hadn't learned that it can happen so gradually you don't lose your stomach or hurt yourself in the landing.

--Chapter One

I've found it takes at least two and generally three things to alter the course of a life: You slip around the truth once, and then again, and one more time, and there you are, feeling, for a moment, that it was sudden, your arrival at the bottom of the heap.

--Chapter One

This was life, I supposed, running and running and running, and realizing along the way that the phantom was getting closer.

--Chapter One

From early on I valued the gift of memory above all others. I understood that as we grow older we carry a whole nation around inside of us, places and ways that have disappeared, believing that they are ours, that we alone hold the torch for our past, that we are as impenetrable as stone. Memory still seems a gift to me and I hold tight to those few things that are forever gone and always a part of me, while the new life, the changing view, streams by.

--Chapter Three

Life is nourishment.

--Chapter Four

Emotions in varying degrees exist, of course, and have to be acknowledged, but they, in and of themselves ... do not have moral weight and should never be judged.

--Chapter Four

Maybe heaven is whatever you want it to be.

--Chapter Five

I didn't know if the forgiveness itself was light, glittery stuff that showered down and absolved a person and set them free, or if, instead, it was heavy, cumbersome, a new debt, a currency that was continually renewed no matter how much we paid out.

--Chapter Six

Everything crass and rude and demeaning and dark falls dead like flies in beauty's wake.

--Chapter Seven

My god has always been a laissez-faire deity, giving you the initial goods and sending you on to make your way.

--Chapter Nine

It was their belief that was shocking. They carried it without thinking, like ants hauling bread.

--Chapter Nine

I have always thought that work is as common and fine as air, something that we become a part of.

--Chapter Ten

It is a rule of nature that taking a day off on a farm sets a person back at least a week.

--Chapter Eleven

Omission isn't much of a sin. It's a safety valve, nothing more or less, for those of us who have been brought up to be honest at all costs.

--Chapter Eleven

I wasn't aware of anything in heaven or earth that more simply determined the outcome of any conflict than the force of personality.

--Chapter Twelve

Most of us are raised to toe the line, conform, follow the rules. Rules sure make the world go around, but I've got a bit of the anarchist in me. How beautiful it would be to buck the system. To get away with thumbing your nose at a few key people in high places. The trouble is the stakes are always too high. Too high.

--Chapter Thirteen

There's nothing much inside that belongs to us at the start, or even along the way. We are shaped, time and time again, by luck, the prevailing wings.

--Chapter Thirteen

The way through grief is grief itself.

--Chapter Thirteen

I used to think there were rules of nature. Strict rules. If you broke them you'd pay. But of course nature doesn't give a damn about anything. It's our own codes that are arbitrary, merciless.

--Chapter Fifteen

I used to think that bravery involved action. It took courage, I figured, to move forward, to pursue a dream, to get ahead in the world. Just to get where you were supposed to. I thought having desire took courage. Now I realize that none of that requires bravery. The only thing you really need bravery for is standing still. For standing by.

--Chapter Fifteen

To doubt was not a deadly sin, but it seemed to be as poisonous as any of the seven.

--Chapter Sixteen

A person's place in society was precarious ... an ill wind could push you across to the other, the wrong, side.

--Chapter Seventeen

Our mission in life is not to discover our fate as we go along, or even to procreate, but rather to fill up the endless gray void that is time.

--Chapter Seventeen

In the end maybe what marriage offered was the determination of one's burial site.

--Chapter Eighteen

Ordinary life was laced with miracles, I knew that, had read enough poetry to understand that we are elevated with the knowing, and yet it was difficult to notice and be grateful when one was continually fatigued and irritated. I suppose that unquenchable sense of wonder is what separates us dolts from the saints and the poets.

--Chapter Eighteen

Life on earth, filled with uncertainty and change, seemed far more difficult than what lay beyond the grave.

--Chapter Eighteen

Is it love that connects us, is that what it is? I never knew that the feeling I have is regular old love because it's so--intricate. Perhaps there is another name for it, one we don't yet know. I used to think that love was simple and noticeable, like rain falling, so that just as you'd look at your skin and say Water, you would also wake in the morning and say Love. But it has been underneath, this new and old thing I feel, subterranean, silent and steady, like blood, rushing along and along without often making itself known.

--Chapter Eighteen

We are told when we are growing up that Hate is a strong word, that we should save it for the despicable things in life.

--Chapter Twenty

Having an enemy is a strangely intimate affair.

--Chapter Twenty-two