Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Published: May 11, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 3-15, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
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?
Disclaimer: The two star review does not reflect on the novel or the author, in fact The Plot is good and well written, this is a total preference as the ending of this novel did not work for me and I am conflicted with this novel. This is also not a typical review as most readers have seemed to really enjoy The Plot.
The Plot is character driven and our focus is on Jacob Finch Bonner. He had written a well-received first novel, but then has become for the most part forgotten and he is teaching a MFA program and is also struggling. While teaching he comes across cocky student Evan Parker who tells Bonner that he has THE idea for a book and said book will bring him everything he will ever need and want. Parker does tell Bonner the plot and it is quite the unexpected plot. Bonner knows that in fact that Evan is correct in his assumption that this will become THE NOVEL.
Several years later Parker’s novel still has not been written and Bonner finds out that his former student has passed away. Bonner decides to write the novel that Parker planned to and yes, it is beyond successful with a forth coming movie. But during all this Bonner begins to receive messages and being trolled that he is a thief. Bonner goes on an quest of sorts to find out what is actually going on and learns about Parker’s family and that fiction may actually come from fact.
I did like that we actually got snippets of this novel Bonner wrote titled Crib throughout the story, in essence getting a novel within a novel. I liked Bonner in spite of his many secrets and enjoyed going on this journey with him despite figuring out who the said troll was about halfway through my reading.
What I did not like was the ending and the epilogue: (BEGIN SPOILER) It was very frustrating for me in that the troll gets away with what they did. I wanted said bad guy to get caught. (END SPOILER).
I wanted to throw the book when I was finished with it. That being said, yes, Jean Hanff Korelitz did write a very good novel where the ending was not for me. Do I regret reading The Plot? No. In fact despite not enjoying the ending I would recommend it for others to read. Would I read The Plot again? No.
Many thanks to the publisher Celadon Books for sending me an arc to read and review.