Plano Reads: The Plot
6 mins read

Plano Reads: The Plot

For April’s meeting of the Mystery Book Club, we are reading The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Join us to discuss Five Decembers on Thursday, April 20 at 7pm at Davis Library and virtually through Zoom. If you would like to attend the meeting virtually, please register here.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz 

Available in Print | eBook | eAudiobook  

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 washed-up novelist finds bestselling success with a story purloined from an arrogant student. What could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything in Korelitz’s satisfyingly twisty thriller. But at first, when Jacob Finch Bonner learns about the sudden death of Evan Parker, the jerk who’d swaggered into his office at a 10th-rate low-residency MFA program and shared the outrageous plot premise that was going to make him rich and famous, it seems as though taking the idea and making it his own is perfectly safe. Three years later, the resulting novel, Crib, has sold 2 million copies in nine months, and Jake has met wonderful Anna Williams, the program director of a radio show he visits while on tour in Seattle. But then he gets an email from proclaiming, “You are a thief,” and his new life threatens to unravel. Korelitz teasingly alternates the story of Jake’s desperate quest to find out who this anonymous accuser is and how he knows about Evan’s idea with chapters from Crib-just enough to stoke curiosity about what exactly this fabulous plot device is. Alert readers will guess some of the twists in advance as Jake follows the trail to Evan’s family home in Vermont and slowly realizes Evan didn’t invent this shocking story but lifted it from the real life of someone who is very, very angry about it; Korelitz plays fair and plants clues throughout. But only the shrewdest will anticipate the jaw-dropping final revelation. (Hint: Think about those Talented Mr. Ripley references.) Korelitz, who demonstrated in Admission (2009) and You Should Have Known (2014) that she knows how to blend suspense with complex character studies, falls a little short on the character end here; Jake is a sympathetic but slightly bland protagonist, and Anna has the only other fully developed personality. No one will care as the story hurtles toward the creepy climax, in the best tradition of Patricia Highsmith and other chroniclers of the human psyche’s darkest depths. Gripping and thoroughly unsettling: This one will be flying off the shelves.  – Kirkus

Jean Hanff Korelitz was born and raised in New York City and educated at Dartmouth College and Clare College, Cambridge. She is the author of the novels: The Latecomer (limited series adaptation forthcoming from Kristen Campo’s Campout Productions and Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories), The Plot (adaptation forthcoming from Hulu, to star Mahershala Ali), You Should Have Known (Adapted for HBO as “The Undoing” by David E. Kelley, directed by Susanne Bier and starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant and Donald Sutherland), Admission (adapted as the 2013 film of the same name, starring Tina Fey, Lily Tomlin and Paul Rudd), The Devil and Webster, The White Rose, The Sabbathday River and A Jury of Her Peers, as well as a middle-grade reader, Interference Powder, and a collection of poetry, The Properties of Breath.  

Korelitz is the founder of BOOKTHEWRITER, a New York City-based service that offers “Pop-Up Book Groups” where readers can discuss books with their authors. Events are now being held simultaneously in person in New York City (with participants vaccinated and masked) and online over Zoom. 

She and Paul Muldoon are the parents of two children and live in New York City. 

From the author’s website 

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The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave Print | eBook | eAudiobook

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins Print | eBook | eAudiobook

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich Print | eBook | eAudiobook

Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews Print | eBook | eAudiobook 

Long Bright River  by Liz Moore Long Bright River | eBook | eAudiobook 

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