Portal:Novels

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A novel is a long prose narrative written by a novelist that describes fictional characters and events, usually in the form of a sequential story. The genre has historical roots in antiquity and the fields of medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter, an Italian word used to describe short stories, supplied the present generic English term in the 18th century.

Further definition of the genre is historically difficult. The construction of the narrative, the plot, the relation to reality, the characterization, and the use of language are usually discussed to show a novel's artistic merits. Most of these requirements were introduced to literary prose in the 16th and 17th centuries, in order to give fiction a justification outside the field of factual history.

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Selected article

Nora Roberts
Irish Thoroughbred, the debut novel by American author Nora Roberts (pictured), was first published in January 1981 as a category romance. Like other category romances, it was less than 200 pages and was intended to be on sale for only one month. It proved so popular that it was repackaged as a stand-alone romance and reprinted multiple times. Roberts drew on her Irish heritage to create an Irish heroine, Adelia "Dee" Cunnane. In the novel, Dee moves to the United States, where her sick uncle arranges for her to marry his employer, wealthy American horsebreeder Travis Grant. Although the early part of their relationship is marked by frequent arguments, by the end of the story Travis and Dee reconcile. According to one critic, the couple's transformation from adversaries to a loving married couple is one of many formulaic elements in the book. Although the protagonists adhered to many stereotypes common to 1980s romance novels, Roberts's heroine is more independent and feisty than most others of the time. Roberts wrote two sequels, Irish Rebel and Irish Rose.

Selected novel quote

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  • Religion is a solace to many people and it is even conceivable that some religion, somewhere, really is Ultimate Truth. But in many cases, being religious is merely a form of conceit. The Bible Belt faith in which I was brought up encouraged me to think that I was better than the rest of the world; I was 'saved' and they were 'damned' — we were in a state of grace and the rest of the world were 'heathens' and by 'heathen' they meant such people as our brother Mahmoud. It meant that an ignorant, stupid lout who seldom bathed and planted his corn by the phase of the Moon could claim to know the final answers of the Universe. That entitled him to look down his nose at everybody else. Our hymn book was loaded with such arrogance — mindless, conceited, self-congratulation on how cozy we were with the Almighty and what a high opinion he had of us and us alone, and what hell everybody else was going to catch come Judgment Day.

Stranger in a Strange Land


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