Who Killed the Novel?

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Last week, Will Self declared the novel dead. But so have a lot of people over the last century. Video may have killed the radio star, but who killed the novel? Rebecca Makkai asks that question over at Ploughshares:

Who is to blame for this sad decline? We could look to our digitized lifestyle. Are we less likely to engage with a Death of the Novel essay on a deep level if that essay appears on a screen? What if that screen has lingerie ads down the side of it? What if those lingerie models are wiggling back and forth? See what I mean?

Makkai poses a few more rhetorical tongue-in-cheek questions, but she raises a valid point: we’ve been talking about the death of the novel since the form was first printed, but more novels are written every year.


Ian MacAllen's fiction has appeared in 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Joyland Magazine, and elsewhere and nonfiction has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, The Negatives, Electric Literature, Fiction Advocate, and elsewhere. He is the Deputy Editor of The Rumpus, holds an MA in English from Rutgers University, tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →