Here is a piece from Prospect called The democracy of Don Quixote (via Literary Saloon); and, here is the idea:
Novelists have always turned their hands to essays, and the essay-writing novelist remains a literary force to be reckoned with. The two forms share an inherent pluralism and scepticism that makes them natural allies of democracy.
I never thought about it–but, it seems to be true; some of my favourite novelists are also the best essay writers–Margaret Atwood and Somerset Maugham come to my mind immediately (And, since I also enjoyed the essays of Virginia Woolf and Amitav Ghosh, I guess their novels are good too–Yes; I am ashamed to admit not having read any of their fiction, yet).
Take a look!