Top Quotes from Hanya Yanagihara

By | January 7, 2016

Every traveler knows too well the endless quest for the perfect travel bag: the one that’s stylish enough to carry through Paris, sturdy enough to tote around Peru, and – most important – doesn’t make your shoulder sag even before you’ve loaded it up with everything you need for a day of sightseeing.

Hanya Yanagihara

In Mumbai, the air is saltier. The sea is roilier. The traffic is snarlier. The pinks are pinker. The ostentation is crazier.

Hanya Yanagihara

Florence is perhaps best known for being the seat of Renaissance art, and rightly so: A greatest-hits collection of artists passed through its streets – Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, and Brunelleschi among them.

Hanya Yanagihara

I love how Vietnamese cuisine always tastes like flowers, and how they had the ingenious idea of pairing that floral flavor with seafood: such a combination shouldn’t work as well as it does.

Hanya Yanagihara

Where most of the country is, well, hot – from the bone-baking dry heat of the desert to the flesh-melting humidity of Kerala in the south – Kashmir is cool: so cool, in fact, that in the winter, the temperatures can sink to sub-zero.

Hanya Yanagihara

Part of adulthood is searching for the people who understand you.

Hanya Yanagihara

Misanthropy is born, I think, out of an almost oppressive sense of loneliness, a conviction that there’s no one on earth who understands you. I don’t think misanthropes hate people: They hate that people hate them.

Hanya Yanagihara

Hong Kong has plenty of superlative hotels, amazing food, and cool shopping.

Hanya Yanagihara

Eating local is a relatively new concept in American dining; for the Italians, it’s a way of life.

Hanya Yanagihara

The original Grand Tour would generally begin in Belgium or the Netherlands before moving through Paris, Geneva, Spain, Italy, and perhaps Greece.

Hanya Yanagihara

I wanted to see how flavors, spices, and grains traveled back and forth along the Silk Road and were interpreted by a multitude of cultures’ palates.

Hanya Yanagihara

Friendship is one of our most treasured relationships, but it isn’t codified and celebrated; it’s never going to give you a party.

Hanya Yanagihara

There’s something nice and intimate about having a book. You know that someone’s actually gone on this journey. You know that someone has actually researched and reported all these things. You can see and hear their tone in what they chosen to include and what they haven’t.

Hanya Yanagihara

I have only a few really enviable skills, but packing – condensing just the right amount of stuff into a single bag, whether the trip is for a weekend or, as in this case, seven weeks – is one of them.

Hanya Yanagihara

Unlike Milan, Italy’s banking capital, or Rome, its religious center, Florence was the place where the rich went to buy goods that would showcase how wealthy they were.

Hanya Yanagihara

I think there are patterns of the aftermath of colonization that you see echoed in cultures and communities across the world.

Hanya Yanagihara

There is something uniquely American about the motel: It speaks to the transient nature of America itself, one enabled and encouraged by our roads and highways.

Hanya Yanagihara

Life will end in death and unhappiness, but we do it anyway.

Hanya Yanagihara

We tend to talk about death as if it is losing a battle, but that assumes living is winning and dying is not.

Hanya Yanagihara

The first thing I do whenever I go to Thailand is seek out the closest restaurant or stall selling mango-and-sticky rice: it’s a little hillock of glutinous rice drenched in lashings of coconut milk and served with fresh mango.

Hanya Yanagihara

One of the writers I most admire is Hilary Mantel because in the middle of her career, she just changed paths entirely and became just a totally different novelist.

Hanya Yanagihara

Photography is always a kind of stealing. A theft from the subject. Artists are assaulters in a lot of ways, and the viewer is complicit in that assault.

Hanya Yanagihara

I have never wanted a family. I don’t believe in marriage, though I obviously believe it should be legal for everyone who wants to do it. But it is not something I believe in, nor do the characters in my book, nor do any of my friends.

Hanya Yanagihara

I was born in L.A., then we moved to Hawaii, then we moved to New York, then we moved to Baltimore, then we moved to California, then we moved to Hawaii, then we moved to Texas, then we moved to Hawaii, then we moved to California. This was before I was 17.

Hanya Yanagihara

I do have the sense that, although there may be no one way to write a novel, there are many novelists who are in fact part of some sort of larger literary community, whether in the form of a writing group or an MFA program, to name two of the more common forms.

Hanya Yanagihara

I think at first I didn’t tell anyone I was writing something because I found so tedious the people who did.

Hanya Yanagihara

I’d be far too self-conscious and insecure if I suspected my editor might be a better novelist than I.

Hanya Yanagihara

I’ve always thought that one of the least successful encounters is meeting a writer one admires. For one thing, writers are generally much kinder, more empathetic, more generous people on the page than they are in person.

Hanya Yanagihara

I wrote my second novel, ‘A Little Life,’ in what I still think of as a fever dream: For 18 months, I was unable to properly concentrate on anything else.

Hanya Yanagihara

From 1999 through 2001, I was an editor at a now-defunct magazine about the media industry called ‘Brill’s Content’ that eventually merged with a now-defunct website about the media industry called Inside.com.

Hanya Yanagihara

There comes a point when you’re writing a novel when you’re in it so deep that the life of the novel becomes more real to you than life itself. You have to write your way out of it; once you’re there, it’s too late to abandon.

Hanya Yanagihara

I wanted to write a story about colonization and about Hawaii. I went to college right at the height of identity politics, and that’s how I always read ‘The Tempest,’ for example.

Hanya Yanagihara

One of the fun things about unreliable narrators is they can be funny. You can admire things about them and laugh with them.

Hanya Yanagihara

Publishing is a business, and I completely understand it. But when you don’t have to depend on writing for your identity or your income, you can do whatever you want.

Hanya Yanagihara

I think fiction writers should work. If you have a job and are not living off advances or grants, you never have to make concessions in your writing, ever.

Hanya Yanagihara

When you write a novel, you never have to be in the service of the reader. My only concern with my books is that the world that’s created be as logical and whole as possible.

Hanya Yanagihara

So much of writing isn’t the fun parts like we get to discuss. It is sitting there putting the words down.

Hanya Yanagihara

I think for a lot of people, friendship is a relationship that gets devalued once they move on to what people consider to be more important relationships: once you find a partner or when you have kids.

Hanya Yanagihara

In a basic sense, ‘A Little Life’ is a homage to how my friends and I live our lives. I wanted to push past the definitions of how we typically define friendship. It’s a different version of adulthood, but it’s no less important and no less legitimate than anyone else’s.

Hanya Yanagihara

What makes a fulfilling relationship or fulfilling life is not simply found in another. It’s found in a group of others.

Hanya Yanagihara

I think that fiction writers can write about anyone. If you are writing a character, and the only thing they are to you is their otherness, then you haven’t written a character.

Hanya Yanagihara

My father was a research doctor at the National Institutes of Health in the early 1980s, and you couldn’t work in the field and not know about D. Carleton Gajdusek, who my father often mentioned.

Hanya Yanagihara

One of the things I’m fascinated by as a traveler is watching how different countries control how they let the world encounter them.

Hanya Yanagihara

We imbue deserts and the tundra with menace because nothing, or little, grows there.

Hanya Yanagihara

I don’t think that genius goes hand in hand with being socially inept or being a sociopath or being a misanthrope, but I do think that it is a mind that can think so differently – so beyond how one is supposed to think.

Hanya Yanagihara

The process of being a writer is much more interior than being a scientist, because science is so reactionary.

Hanya Yanagihara

I think that all research scientists think of themselves as belonging to a grand tradition, building on work that has been worked on since the very beginning of science itself. Whereas I’m not sure writers think of themselves in the same way.

Hanya Yanagihara

I always wanted to be a scientist. I don’t really have any writer friends.

Hanya Yanagihara

We think of the 1950s as an oppressive time in the culture, and indeed it was, but it was also in many ways a more secular moment, and one in which great scientific achievements flourished. I don’t want to get too gauzy about this, but there was much more respect for science as a necessary part of society.

Hanya Yanagihara

You see a virus very differently when it’s caught and suspended on a slab of glass than when you’re observing how it’s ravaged a fellow human being.

Hanya Yanagihara

I think anything goes in fiction as long as it fits within the interior logic of the work itself and is presented in a disciplined manner.

Hanya Yanagihara

I don’t believe in post-racial or post-gay or post-anything, but I do think within a certain group of friends, what matters less is the specificities of race and sexuality, and what matters more is the shared experience, shared language and shared cultural touch points.

Hanya Yanagihara

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