To the novelist Rosamund Lehman: "I've read your book, oh yes, I've read your book, and I've decided that one of us cannot be a woman."
When asked later about the same Lehman novel: "'If it had been half as long--which would have done no harm--and if she had taken out half the characters--which would have been an improvement--' Pause. 'Well, there wouldn't have been much left, would there?'"
On a novel by Olivia Manning: "It is really full of very good descriptions. Quite excellent descriptions. I don't know if you care for descriptions? I don't."
[from Hilary Spurling, Ivy (New York: Knopf, 1984), 467-70, passim.]