The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, traveling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for the alone.— Donna Tartt
The most romantic Donna Tartt quotes that are guaranted to improve your brain
When you feel homesick,’ he said, ‘just look up. Because the moon is the same wherever you go.
Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.
The Little Friend is a long book. It's also completely different from my first novel: different landscape, different characters, different use of language and diction, different approach to story.
Sometimes you can do all the right things and not succeed. And that's a hard lesson of reality.
I believe, in a funny way, the job of the novelist is to be out there on the fringes and speaking for an experience that has not really been spoken for.
Criticism at the wrong time, even if it's legitimate criticism, can be seriously damaging and make the writer lose faith in what he's doing. It's the timing that's all-important.
To really be centered and to really work well and to think about the kinds of things that I need to think about, I need to spend large amounts of time alone.
The storytelling gift is innate: one has it or one doesn't.
But style is at least partly a learned thing: one refines it by looking and listening and reading and practice - by work.
As much fun as it is to read a book, writing a book is one level deeper than that.
From the window, above the clatter of pots and the slamming of cabinets, Francis was singing, as though it was the happiest song in the world: 'We are the little black sheep who have gone astray . . . Baa baa baa . . . Gentlemen songsters off on a spree . . . Doomed from here to eternity . . .
I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe.
I think innocence is something that adults project upon children that's not really there.
On the other hand, I mean, that is what writers have always been supposed to do, was to rely on their own devices and to - I mean, writing is a lonely business.
There's an expectation these days that novels - like any other consumer product - should be made on a production line, with one dropping from the conveyor belt every couple of years.
Children have very sharp powers of observation - probably sharper than adults - yet at the same time their emotional reactions are murky and much more primitive.
When I looked at the painting I felt the same convergence on a single point: a flickering sun-struck instance that existed now and forever. Only occasionally did I notice the chain on the finch's ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature - fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place.
I just finished writing an essay about William Maxwell, an American writer whose work I admire very much.
I'd rather write one good book than ten mediocre ones.
When I'm writing, I am concentrating almost wholly on concrete detail: the color a room is painted, the way a drop of water rolls off a wet leaf after a rain.
So I'm not a Southern writer in the commonly held sense of the term, like Faulkner or Eudora Welty, who took the South for their entire literary environment and subject matter.
Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.
I love the tradition of Dickens, where even the most minor walk-on characters are twitching and particular and alive.
Well, I do have some maiden aunts that are not quite like the aunts in the book, but I definitely do have a couple of them, and a couple of old aunties.
My novels aren't really generated by a single conceptual spark;
it's more a process of many different elements that come together unexpectedly over a long period of time.
It happened in New York, April 10th, nineteen years ago.
Even my hand balks at the date. I had to push to write it down, just to keep the pen moving on the paper. It used to be a perfectly ordinary day, but now it sticks up on the calendar like a rusty nail.
It's hard for me to show work while I'm writing, because other people's comments will influence what happens.
Storytelling and elegant style don't always go hand in hand.
I think it's hard to write about children and to have an idea of innocence.
Children love secret club houses. They love secrecy even when there's no need for secrecy.
For me - showing a half-finished manuscript is tricky.
Just as a bird will get spooked and abandon her eggs if some outside party comes around and makes too much noise or pokes around the nest too intrusively - well, that's what it's like for me if I show work too early and I get a lot of editorial suggestions at the wrong time.
Does such a thing as 'the fatal flaw,' that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn't. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.
Caring too much for objects can destroy you.
Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?
Does such a thing as the fatal flaw, that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature?
Everything takes me longer than I expect. It's the sad truth about life.
But sometimes, unexpectedly, grief pounded over me in waves that left me gasping; and when the waves washed back, I found myself looking out over a brackish wreck which was illumined in a light so lucid, so heartsick and empty, that I could hardly remember that the world had ever been anything but dead.
You are - all your experience just kind of accumulates, and the novel takes a richness of its own simply because it has the weight of all those years that one's put into it.
And as we leave Donne and Walton on the shores of Metahemeralism, we wave a fond farewell to those famous chums of yore.
There's nothing like having a sympathetic reader who asks the right questions, who understands what you're trying to achieve and only wants to make it better.
She closed her eyes, dark-lidded, dark shadows beneath them;
she really was older, not the glancing-eyed girl I had fallen in love with but no less beautiful for that; beautiful now in a way that less excited my senses than tore at my very heart.
No money, holes in my socks, living off oatmeal.
Death is the mother of beauty,” said Henry. “And what is beauty?” “Terror.
The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.
And just as music is the space between notes, just as the stars are beautiful because of the space between them, just as the sun strikes raindrops at a certain angle and throws a prism of color across the sky—so the space where I exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank I hope I die in, is exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime.
Even if you need, and want, a second opinion, it can be dangerous to have people telling you what they think you ought to add, or cut, before you've even finished telling your story. One loses heart; one loses energy and interest. Or at least I do.
It is is better to know one book intimately than a hundred superficially.
But it's for every writer to decide his own pace, and the pace varies with the writer and the work.
There is nothing wrong with the love of Beauty.
But Beauty-unless she is wed to something more meaningful-is always superficial
And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought them when they were lost, and tried to preserve them and save them while passing them along literally from hand to hand, singing out brilliantly from the wreck of time to the next generation of lovers, and the next.
And as much as I’d like to believe there’s a truth beyond illusion, I’ve come to believe that there’s no truth beyond illusion. Because, between ‘reality’ on the one hand, and the point where the mind strikes reality, there’s a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.