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 great novel is worth one thousand films.     

Oscar Hijuelos

There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.     

Doris Lessing

Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.     

Joan Didion

Writing novels is a way of living alternative lives.     

Melvyn Bragg

A novel is written not to be judged, but experienced.     

Anne Enright

A novel makes it possible to understand not just events, but the people who control the events; not only their choices, but also their motives.     

David Frum

A good novel cannot be too long nor a bad novel too short.     

Ellen Glasgow

A novel is never anything but a philosophy put into images.     

Albert Camus

A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life.      

Saul Bellow

All novels attempt to cut neural routes through the brain, to convince us that down this road the true future of the novel lies.     

Zadie Smith

But novels are never about what they are about; that is, there is always deeper, or more general, significance. The author may not be aware of this till she is pretty far along with it.     

Diane Johnson

Novels, like human beings, usually have their beginnings in the dark.     

Rita Mae Brown

Writing novels preserves you in a state of innocence, a lot passes you by, simply because your attention is otherwise diverted.     

Anita Brookner

A novel is like a window, open to an infinite landscape.     

Isabel Allende

Few of us write great novels; all of us live them.     

Mignon McLaughlin

All novels are fantasies. Some are more honest about it.     

Gene Wolfe

The writer of stories or of novels settles on men and imitates them; he exhausts the possibilities of his characters.     

Salvatore Quasimodo

Each and every novel is a world outside the world - for a reader to visit, for comfort, consolation, escape, or challenge.     

Joshua Cohen

In suspense novels even subplots about relationships have to have conflict.     

Jeffery Deaver

A novel captures essence that is not possible in any other form.     

Paul Theroux