A life different from the one they lead

In fact, novels do lie – they can’t help doing so – but that’s only one part of the story. The other is that, through lying, they express a curious truth, which can only be expressed in a veiled and concealed fashion, masquerading as what it is not. This statement has the ring of gibberish. But actually it’s quite simple. Men are not content with their lot and nearly all – rich or poor, brilliant or mediocre, famous or obscure – would like to have a life different from the one they lead. To (cunningly) appease this appetite, fiction was born. It is written and read to provide human beings with lives they’re unresigned to not having. The germ of every novel contains an element of non-resignation and desire.

Mario Varga Llosa