Throughout the twentieth century, the realist novel has developed in idiosyncratic, heterodox and unruly forms. As many writers have recognized, the elaborate description and assured perspective of a Balzac or Eliot no longer suit the times: how can the description of a banana in a fruit basket tell us anything about the intricacies of conquest and exploitation that carried it halfway across the globe? Thus, the best contemporary realism employs linguistic and formal experimentation in its portrayal. Nicholas Robinette argues that a kind of realist backbeat structures the cacophony of perspectives, moods, philosophical excursions, and linguistic density of novels like Nuruddin Farah’s Sweet and Sour Milk and George Lamming’s The Emigrants. Realism, Form and the Postcolonial Novel recovers this underlying realism and shows how the postcolonial novel has employed formal experiment in order to map our social experience.