People often talk about a novel being plot-driven or character-driven. For me, that can be an artificial distinction. For my taste, the best novels — those that capture me and make me feel sorry the read is coming to an end — are those driven by both plot and by the protagonist’s character or personality.
I’ve always felt the most engaging novels are those whose narrative drives involve conflict and uncertainty. They’re novels whose plot — along with other attributes — makes me wonder what’s going to happen next. In essence, I’ve always believed a good story is quite disturbing or plumbs a deep truth — one that’s either obvious (think of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl) or draws me on some level of which I may be unaware (think of Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent or Jane Hamilton’s A Map of the World). In my view, a novel’s plot is vital for it to be compelling.