Mary, such a good point. I think the literati have a tendency to think prose is all but I’m pedestrian enough to want story in a novel.
I also think a lot of short story writers (isn’t that what Anthony Doerr basically is?) believe that a novel is the next step in their career and seem to conceive of the novel as just a really long short story, or a collection of short stories, whereas in reality short stories have more in common with poetry than with novels.
Which isn’t to say that I can’t have great fun with a novelist who is playing with the idea of the novel, but seeing as how Laurence Sterne started playing with what a novel is three hundred years ago, there isn’t a lot of new under the sun.