It's tremendously hard work. Yes, I love arranging the words and having them fall on the ear the right way and you know you're not quite there and you're redoing it and redoing it and there's a wonderful thrill to it. But it is hard.

— Elizabeth Strout

The most sensational Elizabeth Strout quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

I suspect the most we can hope for, and it's no small hope, is that we never give up, that we never stop giving ourselves permission to try to love and receive love.

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You couldn't make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You had to just wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along. Or sometimes it didn't go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind.

15

The evenings grew longer; kitchen windows stayed open after dinner and peepers could be heard in the marsh. Isabelle, stepping out to sweep her porch steps, felt absolutely certain that some wonderful change was arriving in her life. The strength of this belief was puzzling; what she was feeling, she decided, was really the presence of God.

10

Traits don't change, states of mind do.

4

You have family", Bob said. "You have a wife who hates you. Kids who are furious with you. A brother and sister who make you insane. And a nephew who used to be kind of a drip but apparently is not so much of a drip now. That's called family".

4

You surely know that in the course of a long marriage it is not unusual for a husband or a wife to develop a crush on someone else.

3

Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not.

People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it.

3

In a way, I'm very interested in writing about Maine, because I think Maine represents its own kind of history. It's the oldest state, and it's the whitest state.

2

Back and forth she went each morning by the river, spring arriving once again;

foolish, foolish spring, breaking open its tiny buds, and what she couldn’t stand was how—for many years, really—she had been made happy by such a thing. She had not thought she would ever become immune to the beauty of the physical world, but there you were. The river sparkled with the sun that rose, enough that she needed her sunglasses.

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The appetites of the body were private battles.

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But what could you do? Only keep going.

People kept going; they had been doing it for thousands of years. You took the kindness offered, letting it seep as far in as it could go, and the remaining dark crevices you carried around with you, knowing that over time they might change into something almost bearable.

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I actually see myself in all my characters.

In order to imagine what it feels like to be another person I have to use my own experiences and responses to the world.

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About Elizabeth Strout

Quotes 52 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday January 6, 1956

She didn't like to be alone. Even more, she didn't like being with people. (148)

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She remembered was hope was, and this was it.

That inner churning that moves you forward, plows you through life the way the boats plowed the shiny water, the way the plane was plowing forward to a place new, and where she was needed.

0

My first job was when I was about 12, cleaning houses in the afternoons for different elderly women in town. I hated it.

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I'm writing for my ideal reader, for somebody who's willing to take the time, who's willing to get lost in a new world, who's willing to do their part. But then I have to do my part and give them a sound and a voice that they believe in enough to keep going.

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I would hope that my readers feel a sense of awe at the quality of human endurance, at the endurance of love in the face of a variety of difficulties; that the quotidian life is not always easy, and is something worthy of respect.

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There were days - she could remember this - when Henry would hold her hand as they walked home, middle-aged people, in their prime. Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it. But she had that memory now, of something healthy and pure.

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And it was too late. No one wants to believe something is too late, but it is always becoming too late, and then it is.

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Oh, I wish I organized my books. But I don't. I'm not an organized person. The best I can do is put the books I really like in one sort of general area, and poetry in another.

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But after a certain point in a marriage, you stopped having a certain kind of fight, Olive thought, because when the years behind you were more than the years in front of you, things were different.

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Oh that's lovely," said Bunny. "Olive, you've got a date." "Why would you say something so foolish?" Olive asked, really annoyed. "We're two lonely people having supper." "Exactly," said Bunny. "That's a date.

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No exchange rate for the confidence of youth.

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I don't think there was a particular book that made me want to write.

They all did. I always wanted to write.

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I love theater. I love sitting in an audience and having the actors right there, playing out what it means to be a human being.

0

I'm so interested in the fact that we really don't know anybody.

We think we know the people close to us, but we don't, we really don't.

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He wanted to put his arms around her, but she had a darkness that seemed to stand beside her like an acquaintance that would not go away.

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It’s just that I’m the kind of person,' Rebecca continued, 'that thinks if you took a map of the whole world and put a pin in it for every person, there wouldn’t be a pin for me.

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I don't especially like to travel, not the way many people do.

I know many people that love to go to far-off and different places, and I've never been like that. I seem to get homesick as quickly as a child.

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All these lives," she said. "All the stories we never know." (125)

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For years I did most of my reading on the F train between Brooklyn and Manhattan. I had long commutes, and I read tons of books on that train; I loved it.

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The key to contentment was to never ask why; she had learned that long ago.

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Or maybe, he thought, returning to the boxes, it was part of being Catholic--you were made to feel guilty about everything

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The fact of the matter is I always have a really high sense of responsibility to the reader, whether it's a few readers that I get or a lot of readers, which I was lucky enough to get with 'Olive.' I feel responsible to them, to deliver something as truthful and straight as I can.

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If you get divorced in New York, you go into therapy and will talk to anybody you meet on the sidewalk about it.

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And yet, standing behind her son, waiting for the traffic light change, she remembered how in the midst of it all there had been a time when she'd felt a loneliness so deep that once, not so many years ago, having a cavity filled, the dentist's gentle turning of her chin with his soft fingers had felt to her like a tender kindness of almost excruciating depth, and she had swallowed with a groan of longing, tears springing to her eyes.

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In case you haven't noticed, people get hard-hearted against the people they hurt. Because they can't stand it. Literally. To think we did that to someone. I did that. So we think of all the reasons why it's okay we did whatever we did.

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He put the blinker on, pulled out onto the avenue.

"Well, that was nice," she said, sitting back. They had fun together these days, they really did. It was as if marriage had been a long, complicatd meal, and now there was this lovely dessert.

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The facts didn't matter. Their stories mattered, and each of their stories belonged to each of them alone.

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Olive's private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as "big bursts" and "little bursts." Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee's, let's say, or the waitress at Dunkin' Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.

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I've always been tremendously interested in criminal law.

It goes to a deep interest I have in prisons and the criminal element, and what we do as a society with it. I've always been touched by the idea of criminality.

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Without a doubt my mother was an inspiration for my writing.

This is true in many ways, but mostly because she is a wonderful storyteller, without even knowing it.

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Sometimes, like now, Olive had a sense of just how desperately hard every person in the world was working to get what they needed. For most, it was a sense of safety, in the sea of terror that life increasingly became. (211)

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I do reread, kind of obsessively, partly for the surprise of how the same book reads at a different point in life, and partly to have the sense of returning to an old friend.

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I do write by hand. I just think - I don't know, it's a physical thing for me. It's a bodily thing. It literally has to earn its way through my hand.

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I don't want to live in Maine full time, but the physical beauty is very striking. It is the exact opposite of New York. When you walk through my small town to get a cup of coffee, you bump into five people you know.

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Each of his son's had been his favorite child.

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Oh, gosh, Olive. I'm so embarrassed." "No need to be," Olive tells her. "We all want to kill someone at some point." (179)

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I have to pay attention to what I have felt and observed, then push these responses to an extreme while keeping the story within the realm of being psychologically and emotionally true.

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