Irma Voth Quotes.

1. "Do you feel that we can rebel against our oppressors without losing our love, our tolerance, and our ability to forgive?"
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

2. "That to truly know happiness is to know the fleeting nature of everything, joy, pain, safety and happiness itself."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

3. "Mennonites formed themselves in Holland five hundred years ago after a man named Menno Simons became so moved by hearing Anabaptist prisoners singing hymns before being executed by the Spanish Inquisition that he joined their cause and became their leader. Then they started to move all around the world in colonies looking for freedom and isolation and peace and opportunities to sell cheese. Different countries give us shelter if we agree to stay out of trouble and help with the economy by farming in obscurity. We live like ghosts. Then, sometimes, those countries decide they want us to be real citizens after all and start to force us to do things like join the army or pay taxes or respect laws and then we pack our stuff up in the middle of the night and move to another country where we can live purely but somewhat out of context."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

4. "I stood there, like always, like forever it seemed, in the middle of the road waiting for something or someone to retrieve me, God or a parent or my husband or any of those things or people or ideas or words that by their definition promised love."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

5. "Irma, she said. But I had started to walk away. I heard her say some more things but by then I had yanked my skirt up and was running down the road away from her and begging the wind to obliterate her voice. She wanted to live with me. She missed me. She wanted me to come back home. She wanted to run away. She was yelling all this stuff and I wanted so badly for her to shut up. She was quiet for a second and I stopped running and turned around once to look at her. She was a thimble-sized girl on the road, a speck of a living thing. Her white-blond hair flew around her head like a small fire and it was all I could see because everything else about her blended in with the countryside. He offered you a what? she yelled. An espresso! I yelled back. It was like yelling at a shorting wire or a burning bush. What is it? she said. Coffee! I yelled. Irma, can I come and live-- I turned around again and began to run."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

6. "I was beginning to understand something I couldn't articulate. It was a jazzy feeling in my chest, a fluttering, a kind of buzzing in my brain. Warmth. Life. The circulation of blood. Sanguinity. I don't know. I understood the enormous risk of telling the truth, how the telling could result in every level of hell reigning down on you, your skin scorched to the bone and then bone to ash and then nothing but a lingering odour of shame and decomposition, but now I was also beginning to understand the new and alien feeling of taking the risk and having the person on the other end of the telling, the listener, say: Bad shit at home? You guys are running away? Yeah, I said. I understand, said, Noehmi."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

7. "We drank our coffee and talked a little bit more about practical things. Natalie came over and asked me if I knew what the trees were called. I said no. She told me they were jacarandas. She said one March two years ago she was feeling suicidal. She had planned to step in front of a bus. Then she looked at the jacaranda tree and changed her mind. You decided to hang yourself from it instead? I said."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

8. "Why is it so painful to write about people who aren't assholes? I asked Wilson. Because I would start to love them, he said."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

9. "The director said he's got a haunted soul and a natural sweetness."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

10. "I said. I’m a maid. I’m a dancer, she said. She stuck her elbows out and snapped her fingers. Well, I said. I get paid. Well, she said. I get applause. Well, I said. I get paid and with that money I rent an apartment and buy food. And a television. Well, she said. I get applause and with that affirmation of my amazing talent I feel happy and confident and cool. Well, I said. Enjoy your life as a dancer. Well, she said. Enjoy your life as a maid. Thanks, I will, I said. Good, she said. We walked in grim silence towards something else."
- Miriam Toews, Irma Voth

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