Because immigrants have always been particularly prone to repetition - it's something to do with that experience of moving from West to East or East to West or from island to island. Even when you arrive, you're still going back and forth; your children are going round and round. There's no proper term for it - original sin seems too harsh; maybe original trauma would be better.
Sacrifice was nine tenths of parenting.
Blimey, thought Kelvin, what an eye-to-face ratio. When you want to say something delicate, you don't want that eye-to-face ration staring up at you. Big eyes, like a child's or a baby seal's; the physiognomy of innocence--looking at Archie Jones is like looking at something that expects to be clubbed round the head any second.
So there existed fathers who dealt in the present, who didn't drag ancient history around like a ball and chain. So there were men who were not neck-deep and sinking in the quagmire of the past.
But why think the more reasons there were to sin, the smaller the sin was?
Sometimes Allah punishes and sometimes men have to do it, and it is a wise man who knows if it's Allah's turn or his own.
Early in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood Broadway.
These days, it feels to me like you make a devil's pact when you walk into this country. You hand over your passport at the check-in, you get stamped, you want to make a little money, get yourself started... but you mean to go back! Who would want to stay? Cold, wet, miserable; terrible food, dreadful newspapers - who would want to stay? In a place where you are never welcomed, only tolerated. Just tolerated. Like you are an animal finally house-trained.
Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories.
This is what divorce is: taking things you no longer want from people you no longer love.
For ridding oneself of faith is like boiling seawater to retrieve the salt--something is gained but something is lost.
When the male organ of a man stands erect, two thirds of his intelect go away. And one third of his religion.
Full stories are as rare as honesty.
You are never stronger...than when you land on the other side of despair.
Generally, women can't do this, but men retain the ancient ability to leave a family and a past. They just unhook themselves, like removing a fake beard, and skulk discreetly back into society, changed men. Unrecognizable.
You must live life with the full knowledge that your actions will remain. We are creatures of consequence.
Getting anything out of my husband is like trying to squeeze water out when you're stoned.
Greeting cards routinely tell us everyone deserves love. No. Everyone deserves clean water. Not everyone deserves love all of the time.
I cannot believe homosexuality is that much fun. Heterosexuality certainly is not.
If religion is the opiate of the people, tradition is an even more sinister analgesic, simply because it rarely appears sinister. If religion is a tight band, a throbbing vein, and a needle, tradition is a far homelier concoction: poppy seeds ground into tea; a sweet cocoa drink laced with cocaine; the kind of thing your grandmother might have made.
I'm serious. I don't know how you work like that. My school shit is better organized, and I'm not in the business of World Domination.
It wasn't like the spare rooms of immigrants - packed to the rafters with all that they have ever possessed, no matter how defective or damaged, mountains of odds and ends - the stand testament to the fact that they have things now, where before they had nothing.
A trauma is something one repeats and repeats, after all, and this is the tragedy of the Iqbals--that they can't help but reenact the dash they once made from one land to another, from one faith to another, from one brown mother country into the pale, freckled arms of an imperial sovereign.
One just has to look at the thing from a perspective that interests you personally.
And the sins of the Eastern father shall be visited upon the Western sons. Often taking their time, stored up in the genes like baldness or testicular carcinoma, but sometimes on the very same day.
Pulchritude--beauty where you would least suspect it, hidden in a word that looked like it should signify a belch or a skin infection.
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- White Teeth
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