Realist novels are characterized by their objective (instead of romanticized) view of the world (quintessentially social), most often through the perspective of an omniscient narrative. Realists often use certain themes, motifs and characters (the upstart or parvenu, for instance), as well as certain techniques (significant detail, "round" plot etc.). The action and the conflicts take place on multiple levels.
Balzac's realism was an explicit model only later (mostly due to G. Călinescu), as many Romanian realist narrations had rural settings. Modernist writers such as Camil Petrescu or Anton Holban tried to use instead the Proustian model, but remained realists (unlike Blecher, for instance).
It is fairly obvious that the development of the Romanian novel was fairly slow (partially due to the sociohistorical contexts) and fragmented. By the time G. Călinescu consciously made Balzacian realism, the likes of Urmuz and Max Blecher already proposed radically different kinds of prose. (The history of the prose poetry should also be taken into account here, as novelists such as Ionel Teodoreanu and Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu also had written prose poems.)
See the main article: neo-realism.
Many elements of realism continued to circulate in the prose of the postwar period. Actually, Marin Preda and Eugen Barbu were among those who contributed early on to the decline of socialist realism in favor of aesthetic-orientated literature. Many novelists of the following period published "parabolical" novels in order to fly by the radar of the censorship. Neo-realism and magic realism were the dominant styles of the period (the attempts of oneirists and followers of the nouvelle roman rarely managed to achieve success beyond the "underground").