Yann Martel

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And in between the two, in between the sky and the sea, were all the winds. And there were all the nights and all the moons. To be a castaway is to be a point perpetually at the centre of a circle. However much things may appear to change-the sea may shift from whisper to rage, the sky might go from fresh blue to blinding white to darkest black-the geometry never changes. Your gaze is always a radius. The circumference is ever great. In fact, the circles multiply. To be a castaway is to be caught in a harrowing ballet of circles.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Moon
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I cannot think of a better way to spread the faith. No thundering from a pulpit, no condemnation from bad churches, no peer pressure, just a book of scripture quietly waiting to say hello, as gentle and powerful as a little girl's kiss on your cheek.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Girl
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You can get used to anything - haven't I already said that? Isn't that what all survivors say?
- Yann Martel
Collection: Survivor
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The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity – it’s envy.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Envy
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My alarm clock during my childhood was a pride of lions.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Pride
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No one dies of nausea, but it can seriously sap the will to live.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Nausea
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In my youth, it was my good luck to have a few good teachers, men and women, who came into my head and lit a match.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Teacher
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Religion?" Mr Kumar grinned broadly. "I don't believe in religion. Religion is darkness.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Believe
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My feelings can perhaps be imagined, but they can hardly be described.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Feelings
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I explore it now in the only place left for it, my memory.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Memories
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You may not believe in life, but I don't believe in death. Move on!
- Yann Martel
Collection: Believe
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science can only take you so far and then you have to leap
- Yann Martel
Collection: Leap
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Gloom is but a shadow of a cloud passing by
- Yann Martel
Collection: Clouds
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I was not wounded in any part of my body, but I had never experienced such intense pain, such a ripping of the nerves, such an ache of the heart.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Pain
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Dawn came and matters were worse for it. Because now, emerging from the darkness, I could see, what before I had only felt, the great curtains of rain crashing down on me from towering heights and the waves that threw a path over me and trod me underfoot one after another.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Rain
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When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Selfish
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Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat wearing Muslims.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Christian
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Sometimes I got my majors mixed up. A number of my fellow religious-studies students - muddled agnostics who didn't know which way was up, who were in the thrall of reason, that fool's gold for the bright - reminded me of the three-toed sloth; and the three-toed sloth, such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Beautiful
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Fiction and nonfiction are not so easily divided. Fiction may not be real, but it's true; it goes beyond the garland of facts to get to emotional and psychological truths.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Real
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We are all born like Catholics, aren't we—in limbo, without religion, until some figure introduces us to God?
- Yann Martel
Collection: Catholic
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My zoology thesis was a functional analysis of the thyroid gland of the three-toed sloth. I chose the sloth because its demeanour - calm, quiet and introspective - did something to soothe my shattered self.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Self
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It was a huge zoo, spread over numberless acres, big enough to require a train to explore it, though it seemed to get smaler as I grew older, train included. Now it's so small it fits in my head.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Zoos
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Books lined the shelves of bookstores like kids standing in a row to play baseball or soccer, and mine was the gangly, unathletic kid that no one wanted on their team.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Soccer
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The blackness would stir and eventually go away, and God would remain, a shining point of light in my heart. I would go on loving.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Heart
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I wept heartily over this poor little deceased soul. It was the first sentient being I had ever killed. I was now a killer. I was now as guilty as Cain. I was sixteen years old, a harmless boy, bookish and religious, and now I had blood on my hands. It's a terrible burden to carry. All sentient life is sacred.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Religious
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Come aboard if your destination is oblivion- it should be our next stop. We can sit together. You can have the window seat if you want. But it's a sad view.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Views
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The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar. It was natural that, bereft and desperate as I was, in the throes of unremitting suffering. I should turn to God
- Yann Martel
Collection: Mind
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To my mind, faith is like being in the sun. When you are in the sun, can you avoid creating a shadow? Can you shake that area of darkness that clings to you, always shaped like you, as if constantly to remind you of yourself? You can’t. This shadow is doubt. And it goes wherever you go as long as you stay in the sun. And who wouldn’t want to be in the sun?
- Yann Martel
Collection: Creating
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Isn't telling about something-using words, English or Japanese-already something of an invention? Isn't just looking upon this world already something of an invention?
- Yann Martel
Collection: World
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If you don't let technology help you, if you resist good ideas, you condemn yourself to dinosaurhood.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Technology
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Much hostile and aggressive behaviour among animals is the expression of social insecurity.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Animal
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God is universal," spluttered the priest. The imam nodded strong approval. "There is only one God." "And with their one god Muslims are always causing troubles and provoking riots. The proof of how bad Islam is, is how uncivilized Muslims are,: pronounced the pandit. "Says the slave-driver of the cast system," huffed the imam. "Hindus enslave people and worship dressed-up dolls." "They are golden calf lovers. They kneel before the cows," the priest chimed in. "While Christians kneel before a white man! They are flunkies of a foreign god. They are nightmare of all nonwhite people.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Christian
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...for everything has a trace of the divine in it.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Divine
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My greatest wish - other than salvation - was to have a book.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Book
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[The taxidermist is] a historian, dealing with an animal's past; the zookeeper is a politician, dealing with an animal's present; and everyone else is a citizen who must decide on that animal's future (...) The indifference of the many, combined with the active hatred of the few, has sealed the fate of animals.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Fate
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I ask you, is it the fig tree's fault that it's not the season for figs? What kind of thing is that to do to an innocent tree, wither it instantly?
- Yann Martel
Collection: Tree
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Work, work, work, but what mark do we leave, what point do we make? People who are too beholden to work become like erasers: as things move forward, they leave in their wake no trace of themselves.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Moving
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How does one say in the jargon of musicology that my sould was pulled out of me and thrown up in the air, to be tossed about by the music. How does one say that I breathed, that I existed, in harmony with the ups and downs of those notes. What kind of notes both elevate and cast down, exalt and crush?
- Yann Martel
Collection: Crush
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I wish I could convey the perfection of a seal slipping into water or a spider monkey swinging from point to point or a lion merely turning its head. But language founders in such seas. Better to picture it in your head if you want to feel it.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Sea
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If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn't love hard to believe?
- Yann Martel
Collection: Believe
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I wept like a child. It was not because I was overcome at having survived my ordeal, though I was. Nor was it the presence of my brothers and sisters, though that too was very moving. I was weeping because ....fill in the blank with whatever/whoever helped you survive... had left me so unceremoniously.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Brother
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I turned around, stepped over the Zebra and threw myself overboard.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Zebras
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How true is that necessity is the mother of invention, how very true.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Mother
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Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Want
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How bitterly glad I am to see you. You bring joy and pain in equal measure. Joy because you are with me, but pain because it won't be for long. What do you know about the sea? Nothing. What do I know about the sea? Nothing. Without a driver this bus is lost. Our lives are over. Come aboard if your destination is oblivion-- It should be our next stop. We can sit together. You can have the window seat, if you want. But it's a sad view. Oh enough of this disembling. Let me say plainly: I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you. Not the spiders, please.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Pain
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Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect? Love.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Beauty
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These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy...walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, 'Business as usual.' But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Children
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You bring joy and pain in equal measure. Joy because you are with me, but pain because it wont be for long.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Pain
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It's amazing how willpower can build walls.
- Yann Martel
Collection: Wall