The article takes issue with the genre of novel which is considered by some critics communicatively limited due to its written/printed form. In order to argue against this view the author moves beyond the notions of orality and literacy towards the notion of mode, borrowing it from discourse linguistics and transferring into the field of narratology. The analysis of Thomas Nashe’s famously underestimated “The Unfortunate Traveller” demonstrates how fiction narrative can model a communicative situation which simultaneously includes the relations of writing-reading and speaking-listening. This double mode allows narration to overcome the limitations of literacy genre. Conclusions are made on the functioning of oral and written modes within Nashe’s picaresque and a work of fiction in general.