Best 65 quotes in «all the light we cannot see quotes» category

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    I don’t want to make trouble, Madame.” “Isn’t doing nothing a kind of troublemaking?” “Doing nothing is doing nothing.” “Doing nothing is as good as collaborating.

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    Inhale, exhale. Walk the paths of logic. Every outcome has its cause, and every predicament has its solution. Every lock its key. You can go back to Paris or you can stay here or you can go on (110-111).

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    I’ll fly us west, you and me, Frau Elena too if she wants. Or we could take a train. We’ll ride through forests and villages de montagnes, all those places Frau Elena talked about when we were small. Maybe we could ride all the way to Paris.” The burgeoning light. The tender hissing of the grass. Jutta opens her eyes but doesn’t look at him. “Don’t tell lies. Lie to yourself, Werner, but don’t lie to me.

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    I’m not your mama,” hisses Werner. “Come on, now.” Frederick’s expression is entirely without artifice. Somewhere in the kitchen, the maid is listening. There is no other sound, not of traffic or airplanes or trains or radios or the specter of Frau Schwartzenberger rattling the cage of the elevator. No chanting no singing no silk banners no bands no trumpets no mother no father no slick-fingered commandant dragging a finger across his back. The city seems utterly still, as though everyone is listening, waiting for someone to slip.

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    Inhale, exhale. Walk the paths of logic. Every outcome has its cause, and every predicament has its solution. Every lock its key. You can go back to Paris or you can stay here or you can go (110-111).

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    I thought they might take a break,” he says. Marie-Laure is thinking of her father. “Maybe,” she says, “it is even more important now?

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    In the dormitory window one night, Frederick rest his forehead against the glass. "I hate them. I hate them for that.

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    It strikes Werner just then as wondrously futile to build splendid buildings, to make music, to sing songs, to print huge books full of colorful birds in the face of the seismic, engulfing indifference of the world—what pretensions humans have! Why bother to make music when the silence and wind are so much larger? Why light lamps when the darkness will inevitably snuff them? When Russian prisoners are chained by threes and fours to fences while German privates tuck live grenades in their pockets and run? Opera houses! Cities on the moon! Ridiculous. They would all do better to put their faces on the curbs and wait for the boys who come through the city dragging sledges stacked with corpses.

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    Marie-Laure will indeed smell something, whether because her uncle is passing coffee grounds beneath her nose, or because they really are flying over the coffee trees of Boreno, she does not want to decide (151).

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    I wasn't trying to reach England. Or Paris. I thought that if I made the broadcast powerful enough, my brother would hear me. That I could bring him some peace, protect him as he had always protected me." "You'd play your brother's own voice to him? After he died?" "And Debussy." "Did he ever talk back?" The attic ticks. What ghosts sidle along the walls right now, trying to overhear? She can almost taste her great-uncle's fright in the air. "No," he says. "He never did.

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    Marie-Laure taps on her door, waits a hundred heartbeats.

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    One step behind her, her father tilts his head up and gives the sky a huge smile. Marie-Laure knows this even though her back is to him, even though he says nothing, even though she is blind - Papa's thick wet hair is wet from the snow and standing in a dozen angles off his head, and his scarf is draped asymmetrically over his shoulders, and he's beaming up at the falling snow (41).

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    Neumann One, who, if he were not scheduled to die ten weeks from now in the Allied invasion of Normandy, might have become a barber later in life, who would have smelled of talc and whiskey and put his index finger into men’s ears to position their heads, whose pants and shirts always would have been covered with clipped hairs, who, in his shop, would have taped postcards of the Alps around the circumference of a big cheap wavery mirror, who would have been faithful to his stout wife for the rest of his life—Neumann One says, “Time for haircuts.

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    Over Volkheimer’s shoulder, through the cracked rear window of the truck shell, Werner watches a red-haired child in a velvet cape float six feet above the road. She passes through trees and road signs, veers around curves; she is as inescapable as a moon. Werner curls beneath the bench in the back and does not move for hours, bundled in a blanket, refusing tea, tinned meat, while the floating child pursues him through the countryside. Dead girl in the sky, dead girl out the window, dead girl three inches away. Two wet eyes and that third eye of the bullet hole never blinking.

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    Out in the forsaken city, every other structure, it seems, is burning or collapsing, but here in front of him is the inverse in miniature: the city remains, but the house he occupies is gone.

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    sheets of yellow flowers glow in the fields, and Jutta wonders if any of them grow over the bones of her brother. Before dark, a well-dressed man with a prosthetic leg boards the train. He sits beside her and lights a cigarette. Jutta clutches her bag between her knees; she is certain that he was wounded in the war, that he will try to start a conversation, that her deficient French will betray her. Or that Max will say something. Or that the man can already tell. Maybe she smells German. He’ll say, You did this to me. Please. Not in front of my son. But the train jolts into motion, and the man finishes his cigarette and gives her a preoccupied smile and promptly falls asleep.

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    Ready?” He sounds like her father when he was about to say something silly. In her memory, Marie-Laure hears the two policemen: People have been arrested for less. And Madame Manec: Don’t you want to be alive before you die? “Yes.

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    Posters go up in the market, on tree trunks in the Place Chateaubriand. Voluntary surrender of firearms. Anyone who does not cooperate will be shot.

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    She shakes the little house, though she knows it will not give itself away. He went back for it. Carried it out. Died with it. What sort of a boy was he? She remembers how he sat and paged through that book of Etienne’s. Birds, he said. Bird after bird after bird. She sees herself walk out of the smoking city, trailing a white pillowcase. Once she is out of his sight, he turns and lets himself back through Hubert Bazin’s gate. The rampart a huge crumbling bulwark above him. The sea settling on the far side of the grate. She sees him solve the puzzle of the little house. Maybe he drops the diamond into the pool among the thousands of snails. Then he closes the puzzle box and locks the gate and trots away. Or he puts the stone back into the house. Or slips it into his pocket. From her memory, Dr. Geffard whispers: That something so small could be so beautiful. Worth so much. Only the strongest people can turn away from feelings like that. She twists the chimney ninety degrees. It turns as smoothly as if her father just built it. When she tries to slide off the first of the three wooden roof panels, she finds it stuck. But with the end of a pen, she manages to lever off the panels one two three. Something drops into her palm. An iron key.

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    She reaches for his hand, sets something in his palm, and squeezes his hand into a fist. “Goodbye, Werner.” “Goodbye, Marie-Laure.

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    The Reich must need socks." "For what?" "For feet, Jutta (73).

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    She turns her face toward his, and though she cannot see him, he feels he cannot bear her gaze. “Won’t you come with me?

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    Somewhere in the ruins above them, the cats are howling.

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    She thinks: They just say words, and what are words but sounds these men shape out of breath, weightless vapors they send into the air of the kitchen to dissipate and die.

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    Someone touches his shoulder. He has to brace himself against the sloping wall to avoid falling over. Marie-Laure stands behind him in her nightdress. The violins spiral down, then back up. Etienne takes Marie-Laure’s hand and together, beneath the low, sloping roof—the record spinning, the transmitter sending it over the ramparts, right through the bodies of the Germans and out to sea—they dance. He spins her; her fingers flicker through the air. In the candlelight, she looks of another world, her face all freckles, and in the center of the freckles those two eyes hang unmoving like the egg cases of spiders. They do not track him, but they do not unnerve him, either; they seem almost to see into a separate, deeper place, a world that consists only of music. Graceful. Lean. Coordinated as she whirls, though how she knows what dancing is, he could never guess. The song plays on. He lets it go too long. The antenna is still up, probably dimly visible against the sky; the whole attic might as well shine like a beacon. But in the candlelight, in the sweet rush of the concerto, Marie-Laure bites her lower lip, and her face gives off a secondary glow, reminding him of the marshes beyond the town walls, in those winter dusks when the sun has set but isn’t fully swallowed, and big patches of reeds catch red pools of light and burn—places he used to go with his brother, in what seems like lifetimes ago. This, he thinks, is what the numbers mean. The concerto ends. A wasp goes tap tap tap along the ceiling. The transmitter remains on, the microphone tucked into the bell of the electrophone as the needle traces the outermost groove. Marie-Laure breathes heavily, smiling. After she has gone back to sleep, after Etienne has blown out his candle, he kneels for a long time beside his bed. The bony figure of Death rides the streets below, stopping his mount now and then to peer into windows. Horns of fire on his head and smoke leaking from his nostrils and, in his skeletal hand, a list newly charged with addresses. Gazing first at the crew of officers unloading from their limousines into the chateau. Then at the glowing rooms of the perfumer Claude Levitte. Then at the dark tall house of Etienne LeBlanc. Pass us by, Horseman. Pass this house by.

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    The burgeoning of light. The tender hissing of grass. Jutta opens her eyes but doesn't look at him. 'Don't tell lies. Lie to yourself, Werner, but don't lie to me,' (133).

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    Then it resumes, the twin wands of its horns extending, dragging its whorled shell atop the sled of its body. What do you seek, little snail? Do you live only in this one moment, or do you worry like Professor Aronnax for your future?

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    Tucked between the last two pages, she finds an old sealed envelope. He has written For Frederick across the front. Frederick: the bunkmate Werner used to write about, the boy who loved birds. He sees what other people don’t. What the war did to dreamers.

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    There was a man who used that transmitter you have. Who broadcast lessons about science. When I was a boy. I used to listen to them with my sister.” “That was the voice of my grandfather. You heard him?” “Many times. We loved them.” The window glows. The slow sandy light of dawn permeates the room. Everything transient and aching; everything tentative. To be here, in this room, high in this house, out of the cellar, with her: it is like medicine.

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    The sea does not belong to tyrants." - Captain Nemo

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    The Sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the globe . . . The sea is only a receptacle for all the prodigious, super-natural things that exist inside it. It is only movement and love; it is the living infinite.

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    The shell may be broken, and even portions of it removed, and yet after a certain lapse of time the injured parts will be repaired by a deposition of shelly matter at the fractured parts. “There’s hope for me yet!” says Etienne, and laughs, and Marie-Laure is reminded that her great-uncle was not always so fearful, that he had a life before this war and before the last one too; that he was once a young man who dwelled in the world and loved it as she does.

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    The way she tucks her ankles up against her bottom. The way her fingers flutter through the space around her. Each a thing he hopes never to forget.

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    They go down the ladder and clamber out through the wardrobe. No soldiers wait in the hall with guns drawn. Nothing seems different at all. A line comes back to Marie-Laure from Jules Verne: Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth. Etienne laughs as though to himself. “Do you remember what Madame said about the boiling frog?” “Yes, Uncle.” “I wonder, who was supposed to be the frog? Her? Or the Germans?

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    Werner thinks of her, whether he wishes to or not. Girl with a cane, girl in a gray dress, girl made of mist. That air of otherworldliness in the snarls of her hair and the fearlessness of her step. She takes up residence inside him, a living doppelgänger to face down the dead Viennese girl who haunts him every night.

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    When lightning strikes at sea, why don't all the fish die?

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    We spent a month there. I think he might have fallen in love.” Jutta sits straighter in her chair. It’s embarrassingly plain how inadequate language is. A town on the northern coast of France? Love? Nothing will be healed in this kitchen. Some griefs can never be put right.

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    When can I go to the sea?" - Marie-Laure LeBlanc

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    What i want to write about is the sea... It is my favorite thing, i think that i ever seen. Sometimes i catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.

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    Wherever her great-uncle is, could he have survived this? Could anyone? Has she? (96)

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    You know what I used to listen to? On our radio? Before you ruined it?” “Hush, Jutta. Please.” “Broadcasts from Paris. They’d say the opposite of everything Deutschlandsender says. They’d say we were devils. That we were committing atrocities. Do you know what atrocities means?" "Please Jutta." “Is it right,” Jutta says, “to do something only because everyone else is doing it?” Doubts: slipping in like eels. Werner shoves them back. Jutta is barely twelve years old, still a child.

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    Word has it . . . the stone is from Japan, it's very ancient, it belonged to a shogun in the eleventh century." - a taxidermist

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    A demonic horde. Upended sacks of beans. A hundred broken rosaries. There are a thousand metaphors and all of them are inadequate: forty bombs per aircraft, four hundred and eighty altogether, seventy-two thousand pounds of explosives.

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    A corner of the night sky, beyond a wall of trees, blooms red. In the lurid, flickering light, he sees that the airplane was not alone, that the sky teems with them, a dozen swooping back and forth, racing in all directions, and in a moment of disorientation, he feels that he's looking not up but down, as though a spotlight has been shined into a wedge of bloodshot water, and the sky has become the sea, and the airplanes are hungry fish, harrying their prey in the dark (91).

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    And to Marie Laure this is a double cruelty: that everything else keeps living, that the spinning earth does not pause for even an instant in its trip around the sun.

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    and dream herself into the mind of the great marine biologist Aronnax, both guest of honor and prisoner on Captain Nemo’s great machine of curiosity, free of nations and politics, cruising through the kaleidoscopic wonders of the sea. Oh, to be free! To lie once more in the Jardin des Plantes with Papa. To feel his hands on hers, to hear the petals of the tulips tremble in the wind. He made her the glowing hot center of his life; he made her feel as if every step she took was important.

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    A foot of steel looks as if it has been transformed into warm butter and gouged by the fingers of a child,

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    a little redheaded girl in a maroon cape emerges from a doorway, maybe six or seven years old, small for her age, with big clear eyes that remind him of Jutta’s. She runs across the street to the park and plays there alone, beneath the budding trees, while her mother stands on the corner and bites the tips of her fingers. The girl climbs into the swing and pendulums back and forth, pumping her legs, and watching her opens some valve in Werner’s soul. This is life, he thinks, this is why we live, to play like this on a day when winter is finally releasing its grip. He waits for Neumann Two to come around the truck and say something crass, to spoil it, but he doesn’t, and neither does Bernd, maybe they don’t see her at all, maybe this one pure thing will escape their defilement, and the girl sings as she swings, a high song that Werner recognizes, a counting song that girls jumping rope in the alley behind Children’s House used to sing, Eins, zwei, Polizei, drei, vier, Offizier, and how he would like to join her, push her higher and higher, sing fünf, sechs, alte Hex, sieben, acht, gute Nacht!

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    and Werner sees six-year-old Jutta lean toward him, Frau Elena kneading bread in the background, a crystal radio in his lap, the cords of his soul not yet severed.

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    Could he, by some miracle, keep this going? Could they hide here until the war ends? Until the armies finish marching back and forth above their heads, until all they have to do is push open the door and shift some stones aside and the house has become a ruin beside the sea? Until he can hold her fingers in his palms and lead her out into the sunshine? He would walk anywhere to make it happen, bear anything; in a year or three years or ten, France and Germany would not mean what they meant now; they could leave the house and walk to a tourists’ restaurant and order a simple meal together and eat it in silence, the comfortable kind of silence lovers are supposed to share. “Do you know,” Marie-Laure asks in a gentle voice, “why he was here? That man upstairs?” “Because of the radio?” Even as he says it, he wonders. “Maybe,” she says. “Maybe that’s why.” In another minute they’re asleep.

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