Monday, May 31, 2021

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz


Title: The Plot
Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Publisher: Celadon Books
Release Date: May 11, 2021

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?

Jacob Finch Bonner has the story of his life. He knows it needs to be written. Too bad it's not his story to tell.

As an unhappy teacher in an MFA program, Jacob is going through the motions. When classes begin, he meets a sullen student, Evan Parker. Evan is disrespectful towards Jacob. He also doesn't think Jacob can teach him anything and doesn't try to hide his feelings. During their only one-on-one meeting, Evan says he has the best plot for a novel. He's sure when he is done writing it, everyone will want to read it. Publishers will fight for it. He will be famous and Oprah will pick it as the "it" book. After Evan tells him what the plot is about, Jacob disgruntedly has to agree and he knows the book will be a success.

A few years later, Jacob is in a new job. A job that leaves him time to work on a new novel but if he has to be honest with himself, he can't come up with anything good. Jacob's first novel was good but the two after have not been recognized at all.

Over the years, Jacob has never forgotten about Evan's plot. A quick search about Evan's whereabouts on social media leaves Jacob in shock. Evan is dead and he never wrote the novel!

Jacob makes a decision that will forever affect his future. He decides to bring to life the story he heard so long ago. Yet, someone is quite unhappy with his decision.

Quite an interesting novel! I was engrossed reading about both plots, Jacob's and the novel he wrote.

I had some issues about Jacob's guilty feelings. Yes, he used the plot of someone else's but the words were his. Yes, what he did was wrong but he didn't plagiarize a novel. What if Evan found out the hard way, that it can be quite difficult to write a book?

The big twist was not impossible to guess. I was waiting to see which way the author was going to take it and I wasn't disappointed.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Celadon Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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