About the Book:
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?
A book within a book! A story about writers and the publishing industry and all things literary! A thrilling plot! Yes please! Jean Hanff Korelitz deserves all the praise for this witty, suspenseful and inventive novel.
“The Plot may seem a little hard on writers, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone; we’re hard on ourselves. In fact, you couldn’t hope to meet a more self-flagellating bunch of creatives anywhere.”
This book is throughly enjoyable and just like a Russian doll, there is another story within the story within the story. Although some reviewers thought the book started off slowly, I loved the detailed character building and sense of place. I needed to understand the main protagonist Jacob Finch Bonner’s motivations and insecurities because I really was rooting for him to overcome his abject fear of being uncovered as a plagiarist.
Jake is not entirely likeable but his former student Evan Parker is even less so. Jake, a somewhat successful author with a serious case of writer’s block, has found himself teaching a creative writing symposium at a small Vermont college. There he encounters a cocky, brash student named Evan Parker. Evan is so sure that he has the beginnings of a blockbuster book on his hands that he barely has use of Jake’s writing skills. Nothing could ruin the plot of Evan’s book, even poor writing, and Evan Parker could write.
“This story will be read by everybody. It will make a fortune. It will be made into a movie, probably by somebody really important, like an A-list director. It will get all the brass rings, you know what I mean?”
How this blockbuster idea morphs into a book by Jacob Finch Bonner is the heart of ‘The Plot’. The book then begins to speed along to an incredibly clever ending. There is a huge plot twist which any clever reader will figure out, but which does not take away the fun of this wonderful thriller. The author is also very brave to skewer writers’ delicate egos and insecurities and I loved every delicious second. They can be in general a very jealous and insecure bunch!
“I’ve learned so much about writers. You’re a strange kind of beast, aren’t you, with your petty feuds and your fifty shades of narcissism?”
Bravo to the author for this intelligent, observant and creative book, that deserves to be the blockbuster book of the summer!
(Thanks to Celadon Books for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest reivew.)