The big contemporary novel is a perpetual motion machine that appears to have been embarrassed into velocity. It seems to want to abolish stillness, as if ashamed of silence. Stories and sub-stories sprout on every page, and these novels continually flourish their glamorous congestion.
Every fall I imagine once again that something wonderful will happen at a party. This is like imagining that the telephone book will prove to be a wonderful novel.john leonard
Suspending moral judgment is not the immorality of the novel; it is its morality. The morality that stands against the ineradicable human habit of judging instantly, ceaselessly, and everyone; of judging before, and in the absence of, understanding. From the viewpoint of the novel’s wisdom, that fervid readiness to judge is the most detestable stupidity, the most pernicious evil.Milan Kundera
Sappho is a great poet because she is a lesbian, which gives her erotic access to the Muse. Sappho and the homosexual-tending Emily Dickinson stand alone above women poets, because poetry's mystical energies are ruled by a hierach requiring the sexual subordination of her petitioners. Women have achieved more as novelists than as poets because the social novel operates outside the ancient marriage of myth and eroticism.camille paglia
It took me years to ascertain that Henry James' work was giving me little pleasure: In each case I ask myself: "What the dickens is this novel about, and where does it think it's going to?" Question unanswerable! I gave up. To-day I have no recollection whatever of any characters of any events in either novel.
Have the courage to analyze great emotions to create characters who shall be lofty and true. The whole art of the analytical novel lies there.paul bourget
When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.jim butcher
Light in tone, the novel [Murphy] is Beckett’s response to the therapeutic orthodoxy that the patient should learn to engage with the larger world on the world’s terms.j. m. coetzee
I had been virtually a Unitarian (as I still am) but without knowing it. The experience of being among Unitarians who did know what they were, and attached much importance to it, was entirely novel to me, but I soon fell into their ways and found it easy to go forward on their road, the more so because the other roads became closed to me.l. p. jacks
In this crucial sense, the theory of punctuated equilibrium adopts a very conservative position. The theory asserts no novel claim about modes or mechanisms of speciation; punctuated equilibrium merely takes a standard microevolutionary model and elucidates its expected expression when properly scaled into geological time.stephen jay gould
There is not one big cosmic meaning for all ; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.
How curious, after all, is the way in which we moderns think about our world! And it is all so novel, too. The cosmology underlying our mental processes is but three centuries old a mere infant in the history of thought and yet we cling to it with the same embarrassed zeal with which a young father fondles his new-born baby.
Yesoh dear yesthe novel tells a story.
We cannot have heroes to dine with us. There are none. And were those heroes to be had, we should not like them?the persons whom you cannot care for in a novel, because they are so bad, are the very same that you so dearly love in your life, becausetheyare so good.Anthony Trollope
My first published novel was written for teenagers, and there were rules laid down by the publisher: no sex, no smoking, no swearing. I blew up entire solar systems, I consigned billions of people to horrible death; they didn't seem to mind that at all. But no hanky-panky.ben bova
When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.ernest hemingway
The novel has become a function of the fragmented society, the fragmented consciousness. Human beings are so divided, are becoming more and more divided, and more subdivided in themselves, reflecting the world, that they reach out desperately, not knowing they do it, for information about other groups inside their own country, let alone about groups in other countries. It is a blind grasping out for their own wholeness, and the novel-report is a means toward it.doris lessing
But the voice of anatomy, like the voice of all nature, never reaches the mental ear of the Great Commoner. It is the novel province of anatomy to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the structure, the origin and the history of man.henry fairfield osborn
Dreiser wanted to write the next great American novel, and his desperation pervades [ Sister Carrie ] like an unsavory pit stain.theodore dreiser
The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life.Henry James
If I could read your mind love What a tale your thoughts could tell Just like a paperback novel just like the kind a drug store would sell When you reach the part where the heart aches come the hero would be me But heroes often fail And you won't read that book again because the endings just too hard to take..gordon lightfoot
You might with advantage take out your map of modern literature and mark on it the name of Italo Svevo…for Svevo and his novel, Confessions of Zeno …will henceforth be on other people's maps, and it is well that the atlases of the enlightened should agree.italo svevo
A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life. It tells us that for every human being there is a diversity of existences, that the single existence is itself an illusion in part, that these many existences signify something, tend to something, fulfill something; it promises us meaning, harmony, and even justice.
As for 'story' I never yet did enjoy a novel or play in which someone didn't tell me afterward that there was something wrong with the story, so that's going to be no drawback as far as I'm concerned. "Good Lord, why am I so bored" "I know; it must be the plot developing harmoniously." So I often reply to myself, and there rises before me my special nightmare that of the writer as craftsman, natty and deft.
A good novel tells us about its hero. A bad novel tells us about the author.
...A novel is a daily labor over a period of years. A novel is a job…But a story can be a mad, lovely visitor, with whom you spend a rather exciting weekend.
Axiom : novel must have either one living character or a perfect pattern: fails otherwise.