Elizabeth Curtis Sittenfeld

American novelist (1975-)
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Elizabeth Curtis Sittenfeld (born August 23, 1975, in Cincinnati, Ohio) is an American writer.



Prep (2005)

  • As for the politics here, what can you do? There’s a lot of posturing, but it’s all kind of meaningless.
    • p. 9
  • At Ault, it wasn't just that we weren't supposed to be bad or unethical; we weren't even supposed to be ordinary, and stealing was worse than ordinary. It was unseemly, lacking subtlety, revealing a wish for things you did not already have.
    • p. 12
  • I always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely.
    • p. 14
  • I did not scream or hug anyone. In fact, as the noise gained momentum, I felt its opposite, a draining of excitement. But not a draining of tension - my body was still stiff and alert, and the impulse I had, strangely, was to weep. Not because I was sad but because I was not happy, and yet, like my classmates, I'd experienced an emotional surge, I too felt the need for expression. This phenomenon -- being gripped by an overwhelming wave of feeling that was clearly not the feeling of the people around me -- had also happened at a pep rally: It made me uncomfortable, because I didn't want anyone to notice that I wasn't jumping up and down or cheering, and it also thrilled me, because it made the world seem full of possibilities that could make my heart pound. I think, looking back, that this was the single best thing about Ault, the sense of possibility… In my whole life, Ault was the place with the greatest density of people to fall in love with.
    • p. 38
  • For the whole movie, I had that sense of heightened awareness that is like discomfort but is not discomfort exactly -- a tiring, enjoyable vigilance. I did not get a grasp on the movie's plot, or the names of any of the characters. Then it was over and the lights came on… Maybe this was the place Cross and I would part ways, I thought. And maybe we wouldn't even say good-bye, now that he was with his friends again; maybe I was just supposed to know.
    • p. 53
  • I have always found those times when another person recognizes you to be strangely sad; I suspect the pathos of these moments is their rareness, the way they contrast with most daily encounters. That reminder that it can be different, that you need not go through your life unknown but that you probably still will - that is the part that's almost unbearable.
    • p. 65
  • Before or after your stole my best friend? But the real question is if you were using me to get to Martha all along, or if you just took an opportunity when you saw it.
    • p. 103
  • Flawed as I was, someone recognized me.
    • p. 104
  • As I watched her leave, my mind shot ahead to a time in the future when we would not share a room, when our daily lives would not overlap. The idea made me feel as if I were being held underwater. Then I thought, you’re being so ridiculous; you have almost three more years together, and I could breathe again. But I knew, I always knew- and as unhappy as I often was, the knowledge never made me feel better; instead it seemed the worst part of all- that our lives at Ault were only temporary.
    • p. 134
  • I believed then that if you had a good encounter with a person, it was best not to see them again for as long as possible.
    • p. 159 cited in: The New Yorker (2004). Vol. 80, Nr. 38-45. p.87
  • How did you even know if you loved another person? Was it a hunch, like a good smell that you couldn’t identify for sure, or did a time come when you had evidence? Was it like walking through a house and once you’d crossed a certain threshold, that was love and you could never turn back? Maybe you’d go into other rooms, you’d fight or even breakup, but you’d always be on the other side of love, after and not before it. My interest in couples felt anthropological - even liking Cross, even wanting to hear from Martha that she could imagine me dating him, I myself could not imagine us together... When I through of Sin - Jun and Clara - and I did so often- what was hardest to wrap my head around was how they’d been a couple while living in the same room. How had they known when to fool around and when to just sit at their desks doing homework? Hadn’t it been either too intense, too tiring to always be around the person you wanted to impress, or else too familiar? Maybe in such close quarters you gave up hope of impressing them and sat there picking your earwax and not caring if you looked cute. But didn’t you lose something there, too? If that was what people meant by intimacy, it didn’t hold much appeal for me- it seemed like you’d be fighting each other for oxygen.
    • p. 239
  • Hardly ever did it matter if you brushed your hair before driving to the grocery store, rarely did you work in an office where you cared what more than two or three people thought of you. At Ault, caring about everything was draining, but it was also exhilarating.
    • p. 290
  • But then she’d know what she’d probably only suspected- how messed up I really was, how much I’d been misleading them for the last four years.
    • p. 321
  • But while I was in their city, it just seemed like such a mistake that I had ever left home, such an error in judgment in all our parts.
    • p. 321
  • I forgot, over and over, that the fact of my wanting something wasn’t enough to make it happen.
    • p. 325

Quotes about Curtis Sittenfeld

  • The newly minted author of the novel Prep talks about high school, gratuitous sex, and why her parents shouldn't be worried
    • In: Interview by Rory Evans (2005) in: Cincinnati Magazine, jan 2005. p. 67
  • When I read Curtis Sittenfeld's debut novel Prep, I highlighted passages for the first time since I was a student. So many of the main character's high school observations rang true that I couldn't help myself.
    • Melissa Walker (2006) "Interview with Curtis Sittenfeld". In: ELLE girl (July 3, 2006) Vol. 5, nr. 5. p.90
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