What makes a novel a novel? How does a novel create a world different from that of drama or poetry? What kinds of truth can be told uniquely by the novel? And what role can the literary critic play in the egalitarian age of the Internet? The attempt to capture the multifariousness of experience through character, narrative and style is at the heart of the novelists art, and it is evaluated and celebrated in the thirteen specially commissioned essays collected here. The Good of the Novel brings together some of todays most perceptive critics, several of them novelists themselves, and puts them in contact with some of the finest novels of the past three decades. Insightful, intelligent and illuminating, The Good of the Novel seeks to answer probing questions about the role of the modern novel, and, by implication, the role of the modern critic, bringing rewarding new perspectives to some of the most fundamental questions in contemporary fiction.