Ellen. My wife: someone I feel I understand less well than a foreign writer dead for a hundred years. Is this an aberration, or is it normal? 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. (...) A maxim upon maxims. Truths about writing can be framed before you've published a word; truths about life can be framed only when it's too late to make any difference.
Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot