Jean Hanff Korelitz | The Plot

plot jean hanff korelitz

The Book: 

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published May 11, 2021 by Celadon Books
Date read: April 13, 2021

The Characters: 

Jacob
Evan
Anna

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon


The Plot (from Goodreads):

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written–let alone published–anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that–a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an email arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom? 

Click here for book spoilers for <em>The Plot</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Plot, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Evan’s book was based on his sister’s relationship with her daughter. The niece was understandably pissed that her life story had been told without her permission.

In the book, Samantha had killed her daughter by accident in an argument when she was about to leave to go to college. She never wanted Maria anyways, so she buried the body and moved on.

In real life, Diana set fire to their campsite and killed Rose on the way to bring her to college. Evan found out, so Diana killed him too, making it look like an overdose with his own drugs.

The Ending:

Anna was really Diana. She was the one threatening Jake and sending the letters. She killed him and took over his legacy, effectively taking his story back.

The Review: 

This book-within-a-book story was incredible. We first hear from Jacob in his earlier years, and then after he publishes this career-changing novel. We also get to read excerpts from his book along the way, which I particularly enjoyed.

I didn’t know much about the plot (ha) going into it. I find that book blurbs often taint my expectations, so all I knew when I started this one is that there was a grave on the front cover, and that I enjoyed the author’s previous book! As you can imagine, this book was nothing like what I expected. I was so pleasantly surprised by this unique premise.

I recommend going in without much information as well. You won’t be disappointed!

On audio, it was a lot to keep straight. You have the real-life characters as well as the characters within Jacob’s book, and if I happened to pause in the middle of a book excerpt, it was a little confusing to figure out “where” I was and who the focus was on. I was especially glad I had the book to follow along with!

The audio production was top notch, though, and I liked the narrator.

plot jean hanff korelitz

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