The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the experience of a literary narrative qua literary narrative is an experience of narrative thickness, that is, an experience in which narrative form and narrative content are inseparable. I explain my thesis of poetic thickness in § 1, showing why it does not admit of extension from poetry to literary narratives. §§ 2–3 synthesize the work of Derek Attridge and Peter Lamarque, advancing narrative thickness as a necessary condition of literary narratives. I propose a work of didactic literature – J. M. Coetzee’s ‘The Lives of Animals’ – as a paradigmatic counterexample to narrative thickness in § 4. I show, in § 5, that narrative thickness holds for this work in particular and didactic works which are literary in general, concluding that narrative thickness is indeed a necessary condition of literary narratives.