The Garden of Eden quotes

Front cover of The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway
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The following quotes are from Ernest Hemingway’s posthumous novel The Garden of Eden. Page numbers correspond to the 1987 Collier edition.

“But I get so hungry,” she said. “Is it normal do you think? Do you always get so hungry when you make love?”
“When you love somebody.” (Pg. 5)

“And you love me just the way I am? You’re sure.”
“Yes,” he said. “So much yes.”
“Because I’m going to be changed.”
“No,” he said. “No. Not changed.”
“I’m going to,” she said. “It’s for you. It’s for me too. I won’t pretend it’s not. But it will do something to you. I’m sure but I shouldn’t say it.”
“I like surprises but I like everything the way it is just now at this minute.” (Page 12) 

“It would be good to work again but that would come soon enough as he well knew and he must remember to be unselfish about it and make it as clear as he could that the enforced loneliness was regrettable and that he was not proud of it.” (Page 14)

“There was only happiness and loving each other and then hunger and replenishing and starting over.” (Page 14)

“You see,” she said. “That’s the surprise. I’m a girl. But now I’m a boy too and I can do anything and anything and anything.” (Page 15) 

“She had always looked, he thought, exactly her age which was now twenty-one. He had been very proud of her for that. But tonight she did not look it. The lines of her cheekbones showed clear as he had never seen them before and she smiled and her face was heartbreaking.” (Page 1

“What will we be?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we’ll just be us. Only changed. That’s maybe the best thing. And we will keep on won’t we?” (Page 30)

“This nonsense that we do is fun although I don’t know how much of it is nonsense and how much is serious. Drinking brandy at noon is no damn good and already the simple aperitifs mean nothing. That is not a good sign. She changes from a girl into a boy and back to a girl carelessly and happily. She sleeps easily and beautifully and you will sleep too because all you truly know is that you feel good.” (Page 31)

“You know you must never worry about me because I love you and we’re us against all the others. Please kiss me,” she said.
He kissed her. (Page 37)

“Be careful, he said to himself, it is all very well for you to write simply and the simpler the better. But do not start to think so damn simply. Know how complicated it is and then state it simply.” (Page 37)

“And what are we doing here, he thought, and what am I doing walking through a beach resort town looking at newly planted magnolias and bloody mimosas and watching for to-rent signs on phony Basque villages? You didn’t work hard enough this morning to make your brain that stupid or are you just hung over from yesterday? You didn’t work at all really. And you better soon because everything’s going too fast and you’re going with it and you’ll be through before ever you know it. Maybe you’re through now. All right. Don’t start. At least you remember that much.” (Page 44-45)

“When you start to live outside yourself,” Catherine said, “it’s all dangerous. Maybe I’d better go back into our world, your and my world that I made up; we made up I mean. I was a great success in that world. It was only four weeks ago. I think maybe I will be again.” (Page 54)

“We’ve been married three months and two weeks and I hope I make her happy always but in this I do not think anybody can take care of anybody. It’s enough to stay in it.” (Page 57)

“Remember everything is right until it’s wrong. You’ll know when it’s wrong.” (Page 65)

“It’s a very strange thing,” he said. “This drink tastes exactly like remorse. It has the true taste of it and yet it takes it away.” (Page 69)

“Do you like me as a girl,” she said very seriously and then smiled.
“Yes,” he said.
“That’s good,” she said. “I’m glad someone likes it because it’s a god damned bore.” (Page 70)

“You want a girl don’t you? Don’t you want everything that goes with it? Scenes, hysteria, false accusations, temperament isn’t that it? I’m holding it down. I won’t make you uncomfortable in front of the waiter. I won’t make the waiter uncomfortable. I’ll read my damned mail. Can we send up and get my mail?” (Page 70) 

“People that can’t blush are worthless.” (Page 91)

“The story had not come to him in the past few days. His memory had been inaccurate in that. It was the necessity to write it that had come to him. He knew how the story ended now. He had always known the wind and sand-scoured bones but they were gone now and he was inventing all of it. It was all true now because it happened to him as he wrote and only its bones were dead and scattered and behind him. It started now with the evil in the shamba and he had to write it and he was very well into it.” (Page 93-94)

“I hope she will be happy,” the girl said. “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” (Page 97)

“This was the first writing he had finished since they were married. Finishing is what you have to do, he thought. If you don’t finish, nothing is worth a damn.” (Page 108)

“You’d better write another story. Write the hardest one there is to write that you know. Go ahead and do that. You have to last yourself if you’re to be any good to her. What good have you been to her? Plenty, he said. No, not plenty. Plenty means enough. (Page 108)

“Yesterday was like loving someone when someone’s died,” he said. “It wasn’t right.” (Page 125)

“That’s all you need, he thought. That’s all you need to make things really perfect. Be in love with both of them.”  (Page 127)

“Sitting in the sun on the rock looking down into the sea, he knew it was wrong to want them both but he did. Nothing with either of those two can end well and neither can you now, he told himself. But do not start blaming who you love nor apportioning blame. It will all be apportioned in due time and not by you.” (Page 132)

“His father, who ran his life more disastrously than any man that he had ever known, gave marvelous advice. He distilled it out of the bitter mash of all his previous mistakes with the freshening addition of the new mistakes he was about to make and he gave it with an accuracy and precision that carried the authority of a man who had heard all the more grisly provisions of his sentence and gave it no more importance than he had given to the fine print on a transatlantic steamship ticket.” (Page 147-148)

“But what are you going to do?”
“Finish the story and start another.”
“So what do you and I do?”
“What we can.” (Page 152)

“There is nothing you can do except try to write it the way that it was. So you must write each day better than you possibly can and use the sorrow that you have now to make you know how the early sorrow came. And you must always remember the things you believed because if you know them they will be there in the writing and you won’t betray them. The writing is the only progress you make.” (Page 166)

“I want us to be just the same.”
“We can’t be the same.”
“Yes we could if you’d let us.” (Page 176)

“The distances did not matter since all distances changed and how you remembered them was how they were.” (Page 182)

“You aren’t really a woman at all,” Marita said.
“I know it,” Catherine said. “I’ve tried to explain it to David often enough. Isn’t that true, David?”
David looked at her and said nothing.
“Didn’t I?”
“Yes,” he said. (Page 192)

“He had been happy in the country of the story and knew that it was too good to last and now he was back from what he cared about into the overpopulated vacancy of madness that had taken, now, the new turn of exaggerated practicality.” (Page 193)

“It feels very good when you feel so good. It’s a stupid feeling but it fits on this day so put it on.” (Page 204)

“Now, he told himself, you must try to grow up again and face what you have to face without being irritable or hurt that someone did not understand and appreciate what you wrote.” (Page 211)

“Now there was no danger and no emergency. It was only disaster now.” (Page 219)

“You can write them again.”
“No,” David told her. “When it’s right you can’t remember. Every time you read it again it comes as a great and unbelievable surprise. You can’t believe you did it. When it’s once right you can never do it again. You only do it once for each thing. And you’re only allowed so many in your life.”
“So many what?”
“So many good ones.” (Page 230)

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