From The Telegraph:
“Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own.” (Flaubert’s Parrot)
“The greatest patriotism is to tell your country when it is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.” (Flaubert’s Parrot)
“The writer must be universal in sympathy and an outcast by nature: only then can he see clearly.” (Flaubert’s Parrot)
“The first draft is fraught with difficulty. It’s like giving birth, very painful, but after that taking care of and playing with the baby is full of joy.” (Interview, Paris Review)
“(Literature is) a process of producing grand, beautiful, well-ordered lies that tell more truth than any assemblage of facts. Beyond that, literature is many things, such as delight in, and play with, language; also, a curiously intimate way of communicating with people whom you will never meet.
“And being a writer gives you a sense of historical community, which I feel rather weakly as a normal social being living in early twenty-first-century Britain. For example, I don’t feel any particular ties with the world of Queen Victoria, or the participants of the Civil War or the Wars of the Roses, but I do feel a very particular tie to various writers and artists who are contemporaneous with those periods and events.” (Interview, Paris Review)