The novel is over – and a more "novel" kind of novel is needed. Or at least Bernard Bergonzi suggested as much in The Situation of the Novel, back in 1970. The novelist writing after the Second World War, he wrote, "has inherited a form whose principal character is novelty, or stylistic dynamism, and yet nearly everything possible to be achieved has already been done".
There have been many variants on the same, now far from novel theme. The Bergonzi version has Proust and Joyce as the twin "apotheosis of the realistic novel"; where else was there to go? What on earth would happen next? Clearly a renewal was in order . . . .