In contemporary Portuguese literary prose two types of novel may be distinguished. Many novels and stories deal with life in the city. They are obviously topical and are accepted as a matter of course. Well-known authors of ‘city novels’ are Caroso Pires and Lobo Antunes. Other novels are set in the countryside. Their authors, like, for instance, Saramago and Agustina, reject being labelled in any way and do not wish to be seen as representatives of a genre. The opposition between the city and the countryside is therefore implicit. It does not play a role in Portuguese literary criticism, which has perhaps also shied away from the subject because of the complex nature of most rural novels. Some of these intricacies are examined in this article which focuses on the works of Hélia Correia and Pinheiro Torres.