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Fiction Quotes

A novel that does not uncover a hitherto unknown segment of existence is immoral. Knowledge is the novel's only morality.

Author: Milan Kundera (1929)

Profession: Czech Author, Critic

All great novels, all true novels, are bisexual.

Author: Milan Kundera (1929)

Profession: Czech Author, Critic

No matter how ephemeral it is, a novel is something, while despair is nothing.

Author: Mario Vargas Llosa (1936)

Profession: Latin American Author

Would you not like to try all sorts of lives -- one is so very small -- but that is the satisfaction of writing -- one can impersonate so many people.

Author: Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)

Profession: New Zealand-born British Author

For if the proper study of mankind is man, it is evidently more sensible to occupy yourself with the coherent, substantial and significant creatures of fiction than with the irrational and shadowy figures of real life.

Author: W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

Profession: British Novelist, Playwright

The really great novel tends to be the exact negative of its author's life.

Author: Andre Maurois (1885-1967)

Profession: French Writer

By measuring individual human worth, the novelist reveals the full enormity of the State's crime when it sets out to crush that individuality.

Author: Ian Mcewan (1948)

Profession: British Author

A novelist is, like all mortals, more fully at home on the surface of the present than in the ooze of the past.

Author: Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)

Profession: Russian-born American Novelist, Poet

For a Jewish Puritan of the middle class, the novel is serious, the novel is work, the novel is conscientious application -- why, the novel is practically the retail business all over again.

Author: Howard Nemerov (1920-1991)

Profession: American Poet

Jesus of Nazareth could have chosen simply to express Himself in moral precepts; but like a great poet He chose the form of the parable, wonderful short stories that entertained and clothed the moral precept in an eternal form. It is not sufficient to catch man's mind, you must also catch the imaginative faculties of his mind.

Author: Dudley Nichols

Profession: American Actor

The first sentence of every novel should be: ''Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human.'' Meander if you want to get to town.

Author: Michael Ondaatje


When the characters are really alive before their author, the latter does nothing but follow them in their action, in their words, in the situations which they suggest to him.

Author: Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)

Profession: Italian Author, Playwright

Undermining experience, embellishing experience, rearranging and enlarging experience into a species of mythology.

Author: Philip Roth (1933)

Profession: American Novelist

The acceptance that all that is solid has melted into the air, that reality and morality are not givens but imperfect human constructs, is the point from which fiction begins.

Author: Salman Rushdie (1948)

Profession: Indian-born British Author

The novel does not seek to establish a privileged language but it insists upon the freedom to portray and analyze the struggle between the different contestants for such privileges.

Author: Salman Rushdie (1948)

Profession: Indian-born British Author