I am assuming that “fiction book” is referring to literary fiction, and not just any book of fiction origin. Sadly Literary fiction is not the genre I do too much reading in, especially not literary fiction of the contemporary kind.
Many classic novels do fall in the category of literary fiction and I do have a love for classic literature. The books that immediately comes t mind is Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, but those kind of feel like over-mentioned books. And the of course “The Picture of Dorian Grey” by Oscar Wilde, but I already mentioned this book earlier this month.
So I am going to mention a different book all together. The piece I am wish to mention is “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. “Don Quixote” is recognized as the first modern novel, and it has influences a vast number of writers: from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner. Faulkner famously said that he reread the piece once a year, just like some people read the Bible1
“By God and upon my conscience”, said the devil, “I never observed it, for my mind is occupied with so many different things that I was forgetting the main thing I came about.” “This demon must be an honest fellow and a good Christian,” said Sancho; “for if he wasn’t he wouldn’t swear by God and his conscience; I feel sure now there must be good souls even in hell itself.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways.
While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray – he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants – Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.
“Life is not interested in good and evil. Don Quixote was constantly choosing between good and evil, but then he was choosing in his dream state. He was mad. He entered reality only when he was so busy trying to cope with people that he had no time to distinguish between good and evil. Since people exist only in life, they must devote their time simply to being alive. Life is motion, and motion is concerned with what makes man move—which is ambition, power, pleasure. What time a man can devote to morality, he must take by force from the motion of which he is a part. He is compelled to make choices between good and evil sooner or later, because moral conscience demands that from him in order that he can live with himself tomorrow. His moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.”
― William Faulkner