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Jhumpa Lahiri Quotes

Jhumpa Lahiri Quotes – Jhumpa Lahiri byname of Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri – an English-born American novelist and short-story writer whose works lighten the immigrant experience, in particular, that of East Indians. Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and raised in Rhode Island – the daughter of Indian immigrants from the Indian state of West Bengal – her father is a university librarian and her mother is a schoolteacher. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of four works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies – was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. The Namesake – was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Unaccustomed Earth, and The Lowland; and a work of nonfiction, In Other Words.

Here are some of the most famous Jhumpa Lahiri quotes:

  • “In a world of diminishing mystery, the unknown persists.” 
  • “I believe that reading in a foreign language is the most intimate way of reading.” 
  • “Sexy means loving someone you do not know.” 
  • “That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” 
  • “Isolation offered its own form of companionship” 
  • “One hand, five homes. A lifetime in a fist.” 
  • “Imperfection inspires invention, imagination, creativity. It stimulates. The more I feel imperfect, the more I feel alive.” 
  • “War will bring the revolution; the revolution will stop the war,” 
  • “The unknown words remind me that there’s a lot I don’t know in this world.” 
  • “Books are the best means—private, discreet, reliable—of overcoming reality.” 

Some of the best Jhumpa Lahiri Quotes

  • “Pet names are a persistent remnant of childhood, a reminder that life is not always so serious, so formal, so complicated. They are a reminder, too, that one is not all things to all people.” 
  • “She has the gift of accepting her life.” 
  • “Pack a pillow and blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it.” 
  • “Remember that you and I made this journey together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.” 
  • “You remind me of everything that followed.” 
  • “Somehow, bad news, however, ridden with static, however, filled with echoes, always manages to be conveyed.” 
  • “Do what I will never do.” 
  • “She watched his lips forming the words, at the same time she heard them under her skin, under her winter coat, so near and full of warmth that she felt herself go hot.” 
  • “That the last two letters in her name were the first two in his, a silly thing he never mentioned to her but caused him to believe that they were bound together.” 
  • “With her own hand, she’d painted herself into a corner, and then out of the picture altogether.” 

One of the few recorded interviews with Jhumpa Lahiri

At her home in Brooklyn, Jhumpa Lahiri chats about writing, and about working on her book “The Lowland”

Famous  Jhumpa Lahiri quotes from her book “Interpreter of Maladies”

  • “Most of all I remember the three of them operating during that time as if they were a single person, sharing a single meal, a single body, a single silence, and a single fear.” 
  • “He learned not to mind the silences.” 
  • “The cosmetics that had seemed superfluous were necessary now, not to improve her but to define her somehow.” 
  • “In those six weeks, I regarded her arrival as I would the arrival of a coming month, or season – something inevitable, but meaningless at the same time.” 
  • “It made him shy, the way he felt the first time they stood together in a mirror.” 
  • “The fact that the yellow chintz armchair in the living room clashed with the blue-and-maroon Turkish carpet no longer bothered her.” 
  • “Men require that you caress them with your expression” 
  • “There are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary, as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.” 
  • “Our meals, our actions, were only a shadow of what had already happened there, a lagging ghost of where Mr. Pirzada really belonged.”
  • “It was only then, raising my water glass in his name, that I knew what it meant to miss someone who was so many miles and hours away, just as he had missed his wife and daughters for so many months.” 

Famous  Jhumpa Lahiri quotes from her book “The Namesake”

  • “Do yourself a favor. Before it’s too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.”
  • “I’m saying I don’t want to raise Gogol alone in this country. It’s not right. I want to go back.”
  • “Finish it, Gogol. At your age, I ate tin.”
  • “And what about you, Gogol? Do you want to be called by another name?”
  • “You remind me of everything that followed.”
  • “He remembers the page crumpled tightly in his fingers, the sudden shock of the lantern’s glare in his eyes. But for the first time, he thinks of that moment not with terror, but with gratitude.”
  • He is aware that his parents, and their friends, and the children of their friends, and all his own friends from high school, will never call him anything but Gogol.
  • “And then the young woman tells her that the patient, Ashoke Ganguli, her husband, has expired. Expired. A word used for library cards, for magazine subscriptions.”
  • “There’s no such thing as a perfect name. I think that human beings should be allowed to name themselves when they turn eighteen,’ he adds. ‘Until then, pronouns.”
  • In a few minutes, he will go downstairs, join the party, his family. But for now, his mother is distracted, laughing at a story a friend is telling her, unaware of her son’s absence. For now, he starts to read. 

Famous  Jhumpa Lahiri quotes from her book “Unaccustomed Earth”

  • “That the last two letters in her name were the first two in his, a silly thing he never mentioned to her but caused him to believe that they were bound together.”
  • “She supposed that all those years of loving a person who was dishonest had taught her a few things.”
  • “Odd things made him love her”
  • “And she refused to go to that miserable place he had dragged her to so many times, to hope for a thing that was unchangeable.” 
  • “Depression” was a foreign word to them, an American thing. In their opinion, their children were immune from the hardships and injustices they had left behind in India as if the inoculations the pediatrician had given Sudha and Rahul when they were babies guaranteed them an existence free of suffering.” 
  • “No more bells ringing in the middle of the afternoon demolishing the rest of the day. No more waiting for the situation to change.” 
  • “I owed the greater apology, but at the same time I knew that was done was done, that no matter what I said now I would never be able to make it right.” 
  • “And yet it felt like an invasion of the part of his body, the physical sense that was most precious: something that betrayed him and also refused to abandon him.” 
  • “In their silence, they continued both to protect me and to punish me. The memory of that night was now the only tie between us, eclipsing everything else.” 
  • “had never traveled alone before and I discovered that I liked it. No one in the world knew where I was, no one had the ability to reach me. It was like being dead, my escape allowing me to taste that tremendous power my mother possessed forever.” 

Famous  Jhumpa Lahiri quotes from her book “The Lowland”

  • “Most people trusted in the future, assuming that their preferred version of it would unfold. Blindly planning for it, envisioning things that weren’t the case. This was the working of the will. This was what gave the world purpose and direction. Not what was there but what was not.”
  • “She learned that an act intended to express love could have nothing to do with it. That her heart and her body were different things.”
  • “Each day she removes a small portion of the unwanted things in people’s lives, though all of it, she thinks, was previously wanted, once useful. She feels the sun scorching the back of her neck. The heat is at its worst now, the rains still a few months away. The task satisfies her. It passes the time.”
  • “Isolation offered its own form of companionship: the reliable silence of her rooms, the steadfast tranquility of the evenings. The promise that she would find things where she put them, that there would be no interruption, no surprise. It greeted her at the end of each day and lay still with her at night.”
  • “…learning was an act of rediscovery, knowledge a form of remembering.”
  • “With children the clock is reset. We forget what came before”
  • “She learned that an act intended to express love could have nothing to do with it. That her heart and her body were different things.”
  • “War will bring the revolution; the revolution will stop the war,”
  • “With her own hand, she’d painted herself into a corner, and then out of the picture altogether.”
  • “In a world of diminishing mystery, the unknown persists.”
  • “And yet he had loved her. A Bookish girl heedless of her beauty, unconscious of her effect. She’d been prepared to live her life alone but from the moment he’d known her he’d needed her.”

Even more great Jhumpa Lahiri quotes

  • “Remember it always. Remember that you and I made this journey and went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.” 
  • “A woman who had fallen out of love with her life” 
  • “She supposed that all those years of loving a person who was dishonest had taught her a few things.” 
  • “She learned that an act intended to express love could have nothing to do with it. That her heart and her body were different things.” 
  • “The future haunted but kept her alive; it remained her sustenance and also her predator.” 
  • “There was the anxiety that one day would not follow the next, combined with the certainty that it would.” 
  • “Because in the end to learn a language, to feel connected to it, you have to have a dialogue, however childlike, however imperfect.” 
  • “I returned to my existence, the existence I had chosen instead of you.” 
  • “My grandfather always says that’s what books are for. To travel without moving an inch.” 
  • “Everything in Bela’s life has been a reaction. I am who I am, she would say, I live as I do because of you.” 
  • “She is stunned that in this town there are no sidewalks to speak of, no streetlights, no public transportation, no stores for miles at a time.” 
  • “Too much information, and yet, in her case, not enough. In a world of diminishing mystery, the unknown persists.” 
  • “How many times does a person write his name in a lifetime—a million? Two million?” 
  • “Plato says the purpose of philosophy is to teach us how to die.” 
  • “The imperfection became a mark of distinction about their home. Something visitors noticed, the first family anecdote that was told.” 
  • “When you live in a country where your own language is considered foreign, you can feel a continuous sense of estrangement.”
  • “Everything is there” 
  • “I have only the desire. Yet ultimately a desire is nothing but a crazy need.” 
  • “He felt the chill of her secrecy, numbing him, like a poison spreading quickly through his veins.” 
  • “It’s easier to surrender to confinement.” 
  • “He saw that his mother was dwelling in an alternate time, a more bearable reality.” 
  • “What was stored in memory was distinct from what was deliberately remembered,” 
  • “She believed she was not significant enough to cast a shadow of her own.” 
  • “He was blind to self-constraints, like an animal incapable of perceiving certain colors.” 
  • “He looks up at her, and behind her, at the sky, which holds more stars than he ever has seen at one time, crowded together, a mess of dust and gems.” 
  • “She knew that the word providence meant foresight, the future beheld before it was experienced.” 
  • “That’s what books are for, to travel without moving an inch.” 
  • “She was unprepared for the landscape to be so altered. For there to be no trace of that evening, forty autumns ago.” 
  • “The blood of too many, dissolving the very stain.” 
  • “Stretched to the breaking point by all that now stood between them, but at the same time refusing to break.” 
  • “She prefers books to jewels and saris.” 
  • “No man wants a woman who dresses like a dishwasher.” 

Jhumpa Lahiri quotes advice to the aspiring writers

  • “I think that a writer should observe the real world before imagining a non-existent one.” 

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