This is an old, 2003 article from the Telegraph I happened to run across today while googling other things, and I think it’s a nice little bit of commentary—a personal response to some revered writers, as well as a statement on “great” novels—that’s what drew me in.
Name any great novel that didn’t weary you first time through. A great novel has a consciousness that is new to us. We have to become imbued with this new consciousness before we can enjoy the work. I’ve been bored in part by Moby-Dick, The Red and the Black, Anna Karenina, The Scarlet Letter, Remembrance of Things Past, Ulysses, The Magic Mountain. Hell, even The Sun Also Rises. Of course, I was a Freshman then.