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Smilla's Sense of Snow

Peter Høeg

Top 10 Best Quotes

“To want to understand is an attempt to recapture something we have lost.”

“Do you know what the mathematical expression is for longing? ... The negative numbers. The formalization of the feeling that you are missing something.”

“I feel the same way about solitude as some people feel about the blessing of the church. It's the light of grace for me. I never close my door behind me without the awareness that I am carrying out an act of mercy toward myself.”

“When my mother didn't come back I realized that any moment could be the last. Nothing in life should simply be a passage from one place to another. Each walk should be taken as if it is the only thing you have left. You can demand something like this of yourself as an unattainable ideal. After that, you have to remind yourself about it every time you're sloppy about something. For me that means 250 times a day.”

“Falling in love has been greatly overrated. Falling in love consists of 45 percent fear of not being accepted, 45 percent manic hope that this time the fear will be put to shame and a modest 10 percent frail awareness of the possibility of love. I don't fall in love any more. Just like I don't get the mumps.”

“There is one way to understand another culture. Living it. Move into it, ask to be tolerated as a guest, learn the language. At some point understanding may come. It will always be wordless. The moment you grasp what is foreign, you will lose the urge to explain it. To explain a phenomenon is to distance yourself from it.”

“Maybe it's wrong when we remember breakthroughs to our own being as something that occurs in discrete, extraordinary moments. Maybe falling in love, the piercing knowledge that we ourselves will someday die, and the love of snow are in reality not some sudden events; maybe they were always present. Maybe they never completely vanish, either.”

“We think there are limits to the dimensions of fear. Until we encounter the unknown. Then we can all feel boundless amounts of terror.”

“There's a look of mischief in his eyes. 'Smilla. Why is it that such an elegant and petite girl like you has such a rough voice.' I'm sorry,' I say, 'if I give you the impression that it is only my mouth that's rough. I do my best to be rough all over.”

“There are mornings when it feels as if you rise up to the surface through a mud bath. With your feet stuck in a block of cement. When you know that you’ve expired in the night and have nothing to be happy about except the fact that at least you’ve already died so they can’t transplant your lifeless organs.”

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Book Keywords:

death, negative-numbers, understanding, being, communication, smilla-s-sense-of-snow, understand, loss, recapture, buio, missing, terror, foreign, lack, happiness, longing, fear, breakthrough, mathematics, lost, love, snow, culture, language, insight, notte

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