What is a Novel?

Hermione Lee reviews books on the novel as a literary form, in this insightful essay.

The novels which haunt me are those that give the effect of a journey continuing beyond the end of the book: Isabel Archer going back to her prison at the end of The Portrait of a Lady; the lovers walking away into the crowd in Little Dorrit and disappearing into everyday humanity; the lonely narrator, all storytelling spent, looking out at the burning stars at the end of I Married a Communist; the reunion of the son and the father, coming through the utmost humiliation, impoverishment, and abjection, on the last page of Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss.

Related link: Terry Eagleton on the Nation and the Novel

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