...[T]he proper function of the novelist consists exclusively of enabling us to get a more distinct grip on that unity which, of course, existed in life before it existed in fiction, and which makes fiction possible. The novelist communicates directly to us something which ordinary conditions of life condemn us merely to glance at. But the novelist is in no sense the inventor of this sort of unity; and the greater a novelist is, the more he gives us the sense that he is not making anything up. I quote Charles Du Bos on Tolstoy's War and Peace: ‘Life would speak thus, if life could speak’. I have no hesitation for my own part in saying that it is through the novelist's power of creation that we can get our best glimpse of what lies behind and under the reverberatory power of facts.
Gabriel Marcel, The Mystery of Being, Part I, Chapter IV.