A comic novel is a work of fiction in which the writer not only seeks to amuse the reader, but also to make the reader think about controversial issues, sometimes with subtlety and as part of a carefully woven narrative; sometimes, above all other considerations. It is more important to unmask the ideas or themes of a comic rather than just the simple plot.
One of the most notable British comic novelists is P. G. Wodehouse, whose work follows on from that of Jerome K. Jerome and George & Weedon Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody. Saki's work is also significant although his career was cut short by World War I. A. G. Macdonell and G. K. Chesterton also produced flights of whimsy. Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, was a notable mid-18th century work in the genre. Other, more contemporary UK authors of this kind include Tom Sharpe, Kingsley Amis, Terry Pratchett, Richard Gordon, Rob Grant, Ian Ross, Douglas Adams, Evelyn Waugh, Nick Hornby, Eric Sykes, Leslie Thomas, Stephen Fry, Richard Asplin, Mike Harding, Joseph Connolly, and Ben Elton. James Joyce's Ulysses is also considered a comic novel with an underlining theme full of puns and a carefully crafted narrative style.
Notable American comic novelists include John Kennedy Toole, James Wilcox, John Swartzwelder, Larry Doyle, Jennifer Weiner, Carl Hiaasen, Joseph Heller, Peter De Vries, Flannery O'Connor, and Terry Southern.