All Writers Are Writing Against Death

In a way all writers are writing against death, because writing is an attempt to defy the passage of time, to refuse to let the past disappear and be forgotten, and to refuse to let the present become the past – to try to keep living another day, to try to talk your way into life, or seduce your way into it.

A-Z Quotes. 2020. TOP 25 QUOTES BY ELIF BATUMAN | A-Z Quotes. [online] Available at: <https://www.azquotes.com/author/38763-Elif_Batuman> [Accessed 7 June 2020].

You’re Always Having To Decide Whether You’re Going To Say The More Ambitious Thing

It’s really a trade-off: you’re always having to decide whether you’re going to say the more ambitious thing, and lose a little clarity – or are you going to say something really clearly, and sacrifice a little nuance? Get too obscure, and you sound like a pretentious asshole; go overboard with the clarity, and you sound like you’re talking down to your audience, or like you yourself are a reductive simpleton.

A-Z Quotes. 2020. TOP 25 QUOTES BY ELIF BATUMAN | A-Z Quotes. [online] Available at: <https://www.azquotes.com/author/38763-Elif_Batuman> [Accessed 7 June 2020].

If There Were No Heartbreak It Would Be A Less Beautiful And Meaningful Story

There’s an amazing line in Marcus Aurelius: “The healthy eye ought to see all visible things and not to say, I wish for green things; for this is the condition of a diseased eye.” Maybe green is your favorite color – but if you saw everything as green, that wouldn’t be a blessing, it would be an eye disease. By the same token, if there was no heartbreak, and everything happened exactly as you want – it would be a less beautiful and meaningful story than the actual story, where you’re a part of a huge complicated mysterious whole.

A-Z Quotes. 2020. TOP 25 QUOTES BY ELIF BATUMAN | A-Z Quotes. [online] Available at: <https://www.azquotes.com/author/38763-Elif_Batuman> [Accessed 7 June 2020].

The Reason You Care About How Any Given Plot Turns Out

When you’re reading a novel, I think the reason you care about how any given plot turns out is that you take it as a data point in the big story of how the world works. Does such-and-such a kind of guy get the girl in the end? Does adultery ever bring happiness? How do winners become winners?

A-Z Quotes. 2020. TOP 25 QUOTES BY ELIF BATUMAN | A-Z Quotes. [online] Available at: <https://www.azquotes.com/author/38763-Elif_Batuman> [Accessed 7 June 2020].

I’m Not On My Own On This One

When a novelist manages to describe or evoke something you thought or felt, without realizing that other people also found themselves in the same situation and had the same feelings, it creates that same solidarity. Maybe it’s better to think of humor not as a tool to express the solidarity, but a kind of by-product. Maybe the realization ‘I’m not on my own on this one’ is always, or often, funny.

A-Z Quotes. 2020. TOP 25 QUOTES BY ELIF BATUMAN | A-Z Quotes. [online] Available at: <https://www.azquotes.com/author/38763-Elif_Batuman> [Accessed 7 June 2020].

Clarity Of Expression Is Always Evolving

I thought clarity of communication was the most important thing in writing, and if you really cared about getting your idea across, you would say it in the most straightforward way possible. Later, in college and grad school, I came to realize that language is a technology like any other, and that it’s always evolving – clarity of expression is always evolving.

A-Z Quotes. 2020. TOP 25 QUOTES BY ELIF BATUMAN | A-Z Quotes. [online] Available at: <https://www.azquotes.com/author/38763-Elif_Batuman> [Accessed 7 June 2020].