The novel was born with the Modern Era, which made man, to quote Heidegger, the “only real subject,” the ground for everything. It is largely through the novel that man as an individual was established on the European scene. Away from the novel, in our real lives, we know very little about our parents as they were before our birth; we have only fragmentary knowledge of the people close to us: we see them come and go and scarcely have they vanished than their place is taken over by others: they form a long line of replaceable beings. Only the novel separates out an individual, trains a light on his biography, his ideas, his feelings, makes him irreplaceable: makes him the center of everything.
― Milan Kundera, Encounter