Novel Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old novel quotes, novel sayings, and novel proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


A novel is a machine for generating interpretations.     

Umberto Eco

Entering a novel is like going on a climb in the mountains: You have to learn the rhythms of respiration - acquire the pace. Otherwise you stop right away.     

Umberto Eco

In a novel you have to resist the urge to tell everything.     

J. K. Rowling

A novel is often a longer process in handling self-doubt.     

Robert Sheckley

An old novel has a history of its own.     

Alexander Smith

Great novels are always a little more intelligent than their authors.     

Milan Kundera

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.     

W. Somerset Maugham

The novel is the highest form of human expression so far attained. Why? Because it is so incapable of the absolute.     

David Herbert Lawrence

A novel is a mirror carried along a main road.     

Henri B. Stendhal

Novels teach the youthful mind to sigh after happiness that never existed.     

Oliver Goldsmith

It seems to me that good novels celebrate the mystery in ordinary life, and summing it all up in psychological terms strips the mystery away.     

Anne Tyler

A good novel begins with a small question and ends with a bigger one.     

Paula Fox

A novel must be a rich forest known at the start only by instinct.     

Dawn Powell

A novel is a work of poetry. In order to write it, one must have tranquility of spirit and of impression.     

Fyodor Dostoevsky

When novels deal in abstractions, they generally go off the rails.     

Philipp Meyer

Novels are make-believe and play for adults.     

Mohsin Hamid

Novel writing is the slowest art form in the world. It is not a sprint. It is not even a marathon. It is a series of marathons that stretch over and over across a continent.     

Mohsin Hamid

A novel must give a sense of permanence as well as a sense of life.     

E. M. Forster

Writing a novel is agony.     

George Orwell

Good novel are written by people who are not frightened.     

George Orwell

Not every novel that wants to be a tragedy gets to be one.     

Jane Smiley

To read a novel is a difficult and complex art. You must be capable not only of great fineness of perception, but of great boldness of imagination.     

Virginia Woolf

Novel writing is solitary work.     

Mohsin Hamid

A novel is an impression, not an argument; and there the matter must rest.     

Thomas Hardy

If you're writing a novel, you're in a room for three or four years. There's not much coming in from the outside.     

Mordecai Richler

When you read a novel, your own imagery is the most important. It's what makes reading such a wonderful thing.     

Daniel Craig

Every novel generates its own climate, when you get going.     

Penelope Lively

In a novel, the only budgetary limitations are that of your imagination.     

Howard Gordon

Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.     

Jorge Luis Borges

A novel is a tricky thing to map.     

Reif Larsen