Isabel Allende - Lord Byron - Albert Pike - John Waters - The Economist - Italian Noir: The Story of Italian Crime Fiction TV - Pulp Fiction 1994 - Proverbs - Oscar Wilde - Vladimir Nabokov - George Orwell - Henry James - Faulks on Fiction TV - Gordon & Weedon Grossmith - Philip Larkin - Martin Amis - Henry Hitchings - Mark Twain - Hunter S Thompson - Virginia Woolf - David Foster Wallace - Ralph Waldo Emerson - Edgar Rice Burroughs - Wilkie Collins - Clive James - J G Ballard - G K Chesterton -
You can tell the deepest truths with the lies of fiction. Isabel Allende
I love fiction because in fiction you go into the thoughts of people, the little people, the people who were defeated, the poor, the women, the children that are never in history books. Isabel Allende
’Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange;
Stranger than fiction. Lord Byron, Don Juan
Fictions are necessary to the people, and the Truth becomes deadly to those who are not strong enough to contemplate it all in its brilliance. In fact, what can there be in common with the vile multitude and sublime wisdom? The truth must be kept secret, and the masses need a teaching proportioned to their imperfect reason. Albert Pike, Sovereign Grand Commander, Mother Supreme Council of the World, the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
You should never read just for ‘enjoyment’. Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behaviour, or better yet, your own. Pick ‘hard books’. Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of ‘literature’? That means fiction, too, stupid. John Waters, Role Models
A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it. The Economist
There’s a dark heart to this tourist dream. Italy is also a society of organised crime, corruption and unsolved murders. Out of this chilling reality a new wave of crime fiction has emerged. With its own twist on the redemptions of the detective novel ... A noir world with no happy endings. Italian Noir: The Story of Italian Crime Fiction, BBC 2010
The detective novels of Andrea Camilleri are set in contemporary Sicily. They deal with the casebook of the worldly Inspector Montalbano of the local police force. ibid.
In That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana Carlo Emilio Gadda employed a crime story to explore Italy’s fascist era. ibid.
Into the 1960s Leonardo Sciascia’s novels would expose the power of the Sicilian Mafia. ibid.
This neo-fascist bombing began a decade of terror. ibid.
In 1978 the kidnapping and murder of former prime minister Aldo Moro troubled Italians. ibid.
The Goodbye Kiss is filmed as a modern-day noir. ibid.
Giancarlo de Cataldo: Romanzo Criminale. ibid.
Pulp Fiction: pulp/pelp/n 1. A soft, moist, shapeless mass of matter. 2. A magazine or book containing lurid subject matter and being characteristically printed on rough, unfinished paper. American Heritage Dictionary, New College Edition. Pulp Fiction 1994 ***** starring Uma Thurman & John Travolta & Samuel L Jackson & Harvey Keitel & Tim Roth & Amanda Plummer & Maria de Medeiros & Ving Rhames & Eric Stoltz & Rosanna Arquette & Bruce Willis & Christopher Walken et al, director Quentin Tarantino
Fact is stranger than fiction. Mid-19th century proverb
The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means. Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895
A masterpiece of fiction is an original world and as such is not likely to fit the world of the reader. Vladimir Nabokov
8Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, 1955
You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. ibid.
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly though the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quick enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. George Orwell, 1984
The house of fiction has in short not one window, but a million ... but they are, singly or together as nothing without the posted presence of the watcher. Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, 1908
When the novel was invented life seemed more straightforward. There were those who owned the land and those who worked it. And both groups knew where they stood. But when people started to move from place to place they also began to move up and down in the world. This brought friction and misunderstanding. Sometimes just in the words you used. If language didn’t give you away, your taste would. We all think we know what a snob looks like. They think they are the bees’ knees. And never understand that in fact the joke’s on them. In books though it’s quite a different matter. Far from being odious a snob is a novel can be surprisingly good value, and offer not just laughs, they also provide a shortcut into larger themes about who we are and where we fit in. In fact for the novelist the snob is a secret weapon. Some of the greatest novels ever written have a snob at their heart. Faulks on Fiction s1e3: The Snob, BBC 2011
In 1861 for the first time Charles Dickens showed the creation of a snob ... Great Expectations. ibid.
Diary of a Nobody by Gordon & Weedon Grossmith was published in 1892 and records the daily battles against Life’s minor injustices of a Mr Charles Pooter. ibid.
In the real world villains alarm us. But what we find repugnant in life can in a novel become oddly alluring. The fictional villain can say things we can’t. And can do things we don’t. This makes them the characters we most enjoy. But the great thing about villains in the novel is that they know what is going on. Faulks on Fiction s1e4: The Villains
The villain is the author’s accomplice driving the plot forward. ibid.
The fictional villain could resemble a hero. ibid.
There is no doubt who is the star of the show, and that is Fagin. ibid.
But Dickens didn’t only make Fagin a nasty piece of work. He also made him a Jew. And that was a decision that would trouble him for the rest of his life. ibid.
Now the villain was to be an even more unlikely figure, one who initially looks like an angel in Paradise. At first sight it would seem an idyllic setting. An island deserted apart from a handful of innocent schoolboys. Yet it was here that William Golding proposed to look evil straight in the face. And that face belonged to perhaps the most shocking villain in British fiction – a twelve-year-old choirboy called Jack Merridew. ibid.
The draw of the supernatural proved addictive to readers of fiction. ibid.
I thought this would be a good opportunity to start a diary. I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of. And I fail to see because I do not happen to be a somebody why my diary should not be interesting, or even published. Diary of a Nobody, 1964; viz also novel Gordon & Weedon Grossmith, The Diary of a Nobody
Give me a thrill, says the reader,
Give me a kick;
I don’t care how you succeed, or
What subject you pick.
Choose something you know about
That’ll sound like real life:
Your childhood, your Dad pegging out,
How you sleep with your wife.
But that’s not sufficient, unless
You make me feel good –
Whatever you’re ‘trying to express’
Let it be understood
That ‘somehow’ God plaits up the threads,
Makes ‘all for the best’,
That we may lie quiet in our beds
And not be ‘depressed’.
For I call the tune in this racket:
I pay your screw,
Write reviews and the bull on the jacket –
So stop looking blue
And start serving up sensations
Before it’s too late;
Just please me for two generations –
You’ll be truly great. Philip Larkin, Fiction and the Reading Public