Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published by: Celadon Books on May 11, 2021
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Celadon Books
Book Rating: 8.5/10
Hailed as breathtakingly suspenseful, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is a propulsive read about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.
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 e-mail 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?
Devious, simmering, and ominous!
The Plot is a twisty, character-driven thriller featuring the frustrated, disheartened writer Jacob Finch Bonner who, after having a respectable but not highly successful first novel and now unfortunately stuck in the disappointing role as teacher for a subpar MFA program, has no reservations when the opportunity presents itself to borrow a unique storyline from one of his previous, now deceased students, in order to become the world-class, successful writer he’s always known he can be.
The prose is tight and intense. The characters are multilayered, consumed, and vulnerable. And the intricate, intriguing plot builds nicely to create just the right amount of tension and suspense, as it unravels all the manipulative personalities, questionable motivations, duplicitous actions, and complex relationships within it.
Overall, The Plot is a compelling, cunning, tragic novel by Korelitz that started off a little slow for me but by a third of the way through, with its story within a story, the momentum started to ramp up, and it quickly became an addictive, enthralling read I couldn’t get enough of.
This book is available now.
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Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.