Quotes from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

(I honestly wanted to quote this entire book; it’s absolutely beautiful.)

It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else. 4
We all live inside this terrible engine of authority, and it grinds and shrieks and burns so that no one will say, lines on maps are silly. 17
A stirring that she could not name fluttered within her–something deep and strange, to do with the sea and the sky. 23-24
Hats change everything. September knew this with all her being, deepening the place where she knew her own name, that her mother would still love her even though she hadn’t waved goodbye. For one day, her father had put on a hat with golden things on it and suddenly he hadn’t been her father anymore, he had been a soldier, and he had left. Hats have power. Hats can change you into someone else. 26
No one may know the shape of the tale in which they move. And, perhaps, we do not truly know what sort of beast it is, either. Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble. 36
“Splendid things are often frightening. Sometimes, it’s the fright that makes them splendid at all.” A-through-L, the Wyverary 44-45
[She] liked it best when words did not pretend to be simple, but put on their full armor and rode out with colors flying. 51
“When you are born,” the golem said softly, ” your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off staircases, saying your first words without fearing someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up living. So every once in a while, you have to scrub it up and get the works going or else you’ll never be brave again.” 60
“For the wishes of one’s old life wither and shrivel like old leaves if they are not replaced with new wishes when the world changes. And the world always changes. Wishes get slimy, and their colors fade, and soon they are just mud, like all the rest of the mud, not wishes at all, but regrets.” Lye, the soap golem 61
Though you can have grief without adventures, you cannot have adventures without grief. 68
“I wouldn’t even consider it if I were you. But then if I were you, I would not be me, and if I were not me, I would not be able to advise you, and if I were unable to advise you, you’d do as you like, so you might as well do as you like and have done with it.” Iago the Panther 105
[She] remembered what he said, that they belonged to each other. She rather liked to think that. She felt it was a thing she might take out and look at when all was dark and cold, and it might warm her. 138
As all mothers know, children travel faster than kisses. The speed of kisses is, in fact, what [one] would call a cosmic constant. The speed of children has no limits. 156
The sea makes a girl strong, you know. 195
“No one is chosen. Not ever. Not in the real world…You chose. You chose it all.” Green Wind 206

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