According to a frequently encountered view, the family novel is not at all compatible with the modern phenomena of life. On closer inspection, however, it can be seen that such reproaches presuppose a trivialised genre that may be innovatively destroyed or renewed. In response to such reproaches, this article proposes a more general notion of family novel, denoting those narratives whose content and structure are essentially shaped by the relationship between characters in terms of intergenerational biological, cultural or material continuities or discontinuities. In addition, this article argues that the issues of intergenerational relationships still play a role. For instance, actual kinship without stable, affective relationships is an ongoing theme. However, there are Swiss German family novels in which the failure of establishing a strong emotional intergenerational relationship are narrated with a new relaxedness. Failing families or the renunciation of family attachment are no longer existential problems.