Sweeping generalizations are discouraged for writers, yet some of the greatest authors have used broad statements to their advantage. Take the quote about family relationships in the opening line to Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece Anna Karenina:
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)
This brilliant quote seems to fit for the most compelling family sagas of any era, even though Tolstoy penned this introduction to his novel 137 years ago.
Tolstoy’s observation still holds up today as a “truth universally acknowledged.” And I agree, writing about happy families would be rather dull. You need problems, complications, people behaving badly, and intrigue to make a story interesting and move forward towards resolution or growth of the characters.
This Tolstoy quote about family relationships is one of my favorites, it reminds me why I like to write about family drama. Do you have a quote from a favorite author that holds special meaning for you?