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Kafka on the Shore book cover

Kafka on the Shore Quotes

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets.
Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That's part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads - at least that's where I imagine it - there's a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you'll live forever in your own private library.
Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.
In everybody’s life there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point, all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That’s how we survive.
Closing your eyes isn't going to change anything. Nothing's going to disappear just because you can't see what's going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That's the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won't make time stand still.
Taking crazy things seriously is a serious waste of time.
Not just beautiful, though--the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they're watching me.
Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe.
Chance encounters are what keep us going.
A certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect.
What do you think? I'm not a starfish or a pepper tree. I'm a living, breathing human being. Of course I've been in love.
Most things are forgotten over time. Even the war itself, the life-and-death struggle people went through is now like something from the distant past. We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about everyday, too many new things we have to learn. But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.
Being with her I feel a pain, like a frozen knife stuck in my chest. An awful pain, but the funny thing is I'm thankful for it. It's like that frozen pain and my very existence are one. The pain is an anchor, mooring me here.
It's hard to tell the difference between sea and sky, between voyager and sea. Between reality and the workings of the heart.
When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
Time weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to sleep through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won't be able to escape it. Still, you have to go there- to the edge of the world. There's something you can't do unless you get there.
If you think God’s there, He is. If you don’t, He isn’t. And if that’s what God’s like, I wouldn’t worry about it.
Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence.
Each person feels pain in his own way, each has his own scars.
When I open them, most of the books have the smell of an earlier time leaking out between the pages - a special odor of the knowledge and emotions that for ages have been calmly resting between the covers. Breathing it in, I glance through a few pages before returning each book to its shelf.
Things outside you are projections of what's inside you, and what's inside you is a projection of what's outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you're stepping into the labyrinth inside.
Adults constantly raise the bar on smart children, precisely because they're able to handle it. The children get overwhelmed by the tasks in front of them and gradually lose the sort of openness and sense of accomplishment they innately have. When they're treated like that, children start to crawl inside a shell and keep everything inside. It takes a lot of time and effort to get them to open up again. Kids' hearts are malleable, but once they gel it's hard to get them back the way they were.
The sense of tragedy - according to Aristotle - comes, ironically enough, not from the protagonist's weak points but from his good qualities. Do you know what I'm getting at? People are drawn deeper into tragedy not by their defects but by their virtues. ... [But] we accept irony through a device called metaphor. And through that we grow and become deeper human beings.
That’s how stories happen — with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.
Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.
It's easy to forget things you don't need anymore.
That's why I like listening to Schubert while I'm driving. Like I said, it's because all his performances are imperfect. A dense, artistic kind of imperfection stimulates your consciousness, keeps you alert. If I listen to some utterly perfect performance of an utterly perfect piece while I'm driving, I might want to close my eyes and die right then and there. But listening to the D major, I can feel the limits of what humans are capable of - that a certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect. And personally I find that encouraging.
No matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away.
Your heart is like a great river after a long spell of rain, spilling over its banks. All signposts that once stood on the ground are gone, inundated and carried away by that rush of water. And still the rain beats down on the surface of the river. Every time you see a flood like that on the news you tell yourself: That’s it. That’s my heart.
I’m free, I think. I shut my eyes and think hard and deep about how free I am, but I can’t really understand what it means. All I know is I’m totally alone. All alone in an unfamiliar place, like some solitary explorer who’s lost his compass and his map. Is this what it means to be free? I don’t know, and I give up thinking about it.
A strange, terrific force unlike anything I've ever experienced is sprouting in my heart, taking root there, growing. Shut up behind my rib cage, my warm heart expands and contracts independent of my will--over and over.
I'll never see them again. I know that. And they know that. And knowing this, we say farewell.
As long as there's such a thing as time, everybody's damaged in the end, changed into something else. It always happens, sooner or later.
Time expands, then contracts, all in tune with the stirrings of the heart.
We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past, like ancient stars that have burned out, are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about every day, too many new things we have to learn. New styles, new information, new technology, new terminology … But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.
I go back to the reading room, where I sink down in the sofa and into the world of The Arabian Nights. Slowly, like a movie fadeout, the real world evaporates. I'm alone, inside the world of the story. My favourite feeling in the world.
I’ve built a wall around me, never letting anybody inside and trying not to venture outside myself.
But if something did happen, it happened. Whether it's right or wrong. I accept everything that happens, and that's how I became the person I am now.
Love can rebuild the world, they say, so everything's possible when it comes to love.
Distance might not solve anything, no matter how far you run.
In dreams begins responsiblities.
People soon get tired of things that aren't boring, but not of what is boring.
When someone is trying very hard to get something, they don't. And when they're running away from something as hard as they can, it usually catches up with them.
When I wake up, my pillow’s cold and damp with tears. But tears for what? I have no idea.
My shadow is only half of what it should be." "Everyone has their shortcomings.
The strength I'm looking for isn't the type where you win or lose. I'm not after a wall that'll repel power coming from outside. What I want is the kind of strength to be able to absorb that kind of power, to stand up to it. The strength to quietly endure things - unfairness, misfortunes, sadness, mistakes, misunderstandings.
What I think is this: You should give up looking for lost cats and start searching for the other half of your shadow.
When I was fifteen, all I wanted was to go off to some other world, a place beyond anybody’s reach. A place beyond the flow of time.
Pointless thinking is worse than no thinking at all.
As long as you have the courage to admit mistakes, things can be turned around.
I don’t know what it means to live.
Any one who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’ like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s just a natural feeling. You’re not the person who discovered that feeling, so don’t try to patent it, okay?.
If you try to use your head to think about things, people don't want to have anything to do with you.
In traveling, a companion, in life, compassion,'" she repeats, making sure of it. If she had paper and pencil, it wouldn't surprise me if she wrote it down. "So what does that really mean? In simple terms." I think it over. It takes me a while to gather my thoughts, but she waits patiently. "I think it means," I say, "that chance encounters are what keep us going. In simple terms.
The world of the grotesque is the darkness within us. Well before Freud and Jung shined a light on the workings of the subconscious, this correlation between darkness and our subconscious, these two forms of darkness, was obvious to people. It wasn’t a metaphor, even. If you trace it back further, it wasn’t even a correlation. Until Edison invented the electric light, most of the world was totally covered in darkness. The physical darkness outside and the inner darkness of the soul were mixed together, with no boundary separating the two. They were directly linked. Like this.
Every one of us is losing something precious to us... Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That's what part of it means to be alive. But inside our heads- at least that's where I imagine it- there's a litle room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in a while, let fresh air in, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you'll live for ever in your own private library.
My grandpa always said asking a question is embarrassing for a moment, but not asking is embarrassing for a lifetime.
Symbolism and meaning are two separate things. I think she found the right words by bypassing procedures like meaning and logic. She captured words in a dream, like delicately catching hold of a butterfly’s wings as it flutters around. Artists are those who can evade the verbose.
Perhaps most people in the world aren’t trying to be free, Kafka. They just think they are. It’s all an illusion. If they really were set free, most people would be in a real pickle. You’d better remember that. People actually prefer not being free?.
You're afraid of imagination and even more afraid of dreams. Afraid of the resposibility that begins in dreams. But you have to sleep and dreams are a part of sleep. When you're awake you can suppress imagination but you can't supress dreams.
Artists are those who can evade the verbose.
You've already decided what you're going to do, and all that's left is to set the wheels in motion. I mean, it's your life. Basically, you gotta go with what you think is right.
I'm not a fast reader. I like to linger over each sentence, enjoying the style. If I don't enjoy the writing, I stop.