I enjoyed this piece on the Paper Cuts blog, but must confess I am of the same opinion as the commenter who contributes Randall Jarrell's definition :
A novel is a prose narrative of a certain length that has something wrong with it.Some of the novels for which perfection or near perfection are claimed by blog readers here are The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lolita by Nabokov, David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee among many many others.
(I would perhaps have added Ian McEwan's Atonement, Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day and Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.)
This is an excellent list of reading recommendations and whether any of these books really are "perfect" or not doesn't really matter, does it?
(Pin-up boy is of course Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby. Luscious.)