Quotes by Xhenet Aliu

"I’m not trying to get hurt, either. I’m not looking for pain,” I said. “You should be,” she said. “You should look all the time for it, so you know where it is, and you can stay far, far away."

"Empathy’s not really optional if you want to fully and productively engage with the world."

"Funny when you have to remind yourself about things that, not long ago, consumed your every thought."

"It isn't about winning or losing. It isn't even about truth or lies, since your point was premised on an embellished story about standing up to Margarita, when all you really did was call out a factual error in her ethnic slurring. The point was about *doing* and *being*, making the little butterfly ripple than would eventually cause a tornado somewhere on the other side of the ocean, or at least a little chatter on the other side of the baseball field at Crosby High School. It's almost better that it was all based on a lie, because it makes you realize you can go back and revise your own history, and isn't that almost as good as making your own future, being able to invent your own past as well?"

"How was I supposed to know that Bashkim’s past wasn’t a cold he could shake but a terminal condition? How was I supposed to know that everybody’s was?"


Books by Xhenet Aliu

  • Brass
  • 2,038 ratings
  • January 23rd 2018 by Random House
  • Upstate
  • 3 ratings
  • 2018 by Daylight Books
Xhenet Aliu
  • Xhenet Aliu

  • Description: Called “extremely funny and mordant” by Sherman Alexie, Xhenet Aliu’s debut fiction collection, Domesticated Wild Things, and Other Stories, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction. Her debut novel, Brass, will be published by Random House in January 2018.

    Her stories and essays have appeared in Glimmer Train, The Barcelona Review, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere, and she has received fellowships and scholarships from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Djerassi Resident Artists Foundation, and elsewhere. A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, whose brass industry attracted large waves of Eastern European immigrants before the demise of the factories in the 1970s and ’80s, she was born to an Albanian father and a Lithuanian American mother. She now lives in Athens, Georgia, and works as an academic librarian.