In the 1970s, the NYTBR, much less political than nowadays, featured, week after week, wonderful novels in their lead review. I read them all (it seems, now); I had a membership in the Mechanics Institute Library of San Francisco, which bought everything. Of that bunch, I best remember "Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer, 1943-1954," by Stephen Millhauser.
But wait, that was 30 years ago, not 25. In the years afterward, when I was in the lit game, the common wisdom was that the novel was dead. I came around to Stephen King's view, expressed at the American Book Awards, that the real flame keepers of novel writing are now, and have been for some years, the popular novelists -- not the pretend litterateurs like Toni Morrison, but the real entertainers like King, Clancy, Turow, and such.
So I'll nominate The Shining.