"Fiction has now become a museum-piece genre most of whose practitioners are more like cripplingly self-conscious curators or theoreticians than writers," says the polemical Lee Siegel. "Declaring the death of the novel is now almost as much of a literary tradition as the novel itself," writes The Guardian. "American writers, proud of their canon — from Mark Twain, Herman Melville and Ernest Hemingway, to John Steinbeck, Joseph Heller and Saul Bellow — are, alternately, eager to kill off the genre and exasperated by their long wait for the next big writer."