Nicole Krauss

American novelist (born 1974)

Nicole Krauss (born August 18, 1974) is an American writer.

Nicole Krauss in 2011

Quotes edit

Interview with NPR (2019) edit

  • All novels are, in their way, an act of resistance, since they insist on the importance and uniqueness of the individual life, and refuse to give in to the mass generalities on which governments and economies depend.
  • There is little that matters more to me than my freedom and independence, artistic and otherwise. But I accept that once a book is put out into the world, it will be read, interpreted, and used by its readers as they see fit. I can agree or disagree, but by then the book is no longer mine; it's been given away to anyone else who cares to read it and invest themselves in it.
  • Years of writing novels in an instinctive, improvisatory way — without a plan, let alone a destination — taught me something about the value of sustaining uncertainty. Of asking questions, rather than pursuing answers. About the discoveries, epiphanies, and surprises one arrives at in this way, and the wonder that follows. After a while, it begins to move from a practice in one's writing and reading to a practice in one's own life, I think.
  • Everything is an old story, even what we think of as the "self" is just a narrative that our parents began telling when we were born, of which we take up authorship.

Interview (2017) edit

  • (What kinds of books bring you the most reading pleasure these days?) NK: Novels that arrive at their coherence in unusual and elegant ways. That stretch form only to satisfy the book’s mysterious inner command. I love when I feel that both the author and I are surprised at where we find ourselves.
  • The windows in my bedroom face east and have no curtains, and to wake up into that light and a book is joy as I know it. I read many books at once, all of them paper. I think the book must be the most perfect object ever designed by humans. Their physical beauty and how well they work — dayenu! — but then there is the way they often absorb their reader’s presence, too. Tea, ink, greasy fingers, receipts, weather, but more than that, something of the spirit, too, so that years later you can take the book down off the shelf and a flash of your old self leaps out at you. I won’t easily give that up.
  • My mother is English, and as she was the one who read to us, my early world was A .A. Milne, Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame, Lewis Carroll and Roald Dahl. None of them thought it necessary to protect children from darkness. On the contrary, they guided their readers right toward it. This gives one an enormous sense of being respected as a child. Not just of being trusted to handle things as they are, but to be accepted as not entirely good. To be recognized as having darkness within oneself, too. I don’t think I’ve trusted any author since who doesn’t address me with that assumption.

The History of Love (2005) edit

  • All I want is not to die on a day when I went unseen.
    • P. 5
  • The words of our childhood became strangers to us- we couldn't use them in the same way and so we chose not to use them at all. Life demanded a new language.
    • P.6
  • When I got older I decided I wanted to be a real writer. I tried to write about real things. I wanted to describe the world, because to live in an undescribed world was too lonely.
    • P. 7
  • Even after the only person whose opinion I cared about left on a boat for America, I continued to fill pages with her name.
    • P. 8
  • When I got up again, I'd shed the only part of me that had ever thought I'd find words for even the smallest bit of life.
    • P. 8
  • “Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, and they parted with leaves in their hair.
  • Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
    • P. 11
  • These things were lost to oblivion like so much about so many who are born and die without anyone ever taking the time to write it all down.
    • P. 70
  • Perhaps that is what it means to be a father- to teach your child to live without you. If so, no one was a greater father than I.
    • P. 164
  • Franz Kafka is dead.

    He died in a tree from which he wouldn't come down. "Come down!" they cried to him. "Come down! Come down!" Silence filled the night, and the night filled the silence, while they waited for Kafka to speak. "I can't," he finally said, with a note of wistfulness. "Why?" they cried. Stars spilled across the black sky. "Because then you'll stop asking for me." The people whispered and nodded among themselves. [...] They turned and started for home under the canopy of leaves. Children were carried on their fathers' shoulders, sleepy from having been taken to see who wrote his books on pieces of bark he tore off the tree from which he refused to come down. In his delicate, beautiful, illegible handwriting. And they admired those books, and they admired his will and stamina. After all: who doesn't wish to make a spectacle of his loneliness? One by one families broke off with a good night and a squeeze of the hands, suddenly grateful for the company of neighbors. Doors closed to warm houses. Candles were lit in windows. Far off, in his perch in the trees, Kafka listened to it all: the rustle of the clothes being dropped to the floor, or lips fluttering along naked shoulders, beds creaking along the weight of tenderness. That night a freezing wind blew in. When the children woke up, they went to the window and found the world encased in ice.

    • P. 187
  • Sometimes I forget that the world is not on the same schedule as I. That everything is not dying, or that if it is dying it will return to life, what with a little sun and the usual encouragement.
    • P. 349
  • Sometimes I think: I am older than this tree, older than this bench, older than the rain. And yet. I'm not older than the rain. It's been falling for years and after I go it will keep on falling.
    • P. 349
  • The little boy I watched throwing pebbles into the empty fountain [...] You could tell that he had too much wisdom for his age. Probably he believed that he wasn't made for this world. I wanted to say to him: If not you, who?
    • P. 351

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about: