‘The Plot’ By Jean Hanff Korelitz [Book Review]

the plot jean hanff korelitz macmillan
Image: Macmillan

Obviously, I have a thing for books about books and writers. Much better if they are filled with drama or are filled with scandals.

No wonder, when I learned about the premise of “The Plot,” I knew right away that I would love it. I mean, it’s about a once-successful writer who ends up stealing the million-dollar plot of a student he once had while he was teaching in a low-residency MFA program.

So intriguing, right?

It didn’t disappoint. In fact, despite my busy schedule, I was still able to finish reading it right away. I just couldn’t put it down, especially when I got to the part where the protagonist, three years since learning about the “fool-proof” plot, finds out that the student died shortly after their encounter. He also finds out that he wasn’t able to publish his novel.

Here comes his dilemma as a writer. He knows it’s not right, but he also thinks the plot is too good to be wasted. Besides, he also thinks stories choose their writers. Whatever bullcrap that is, he ends up using it as an excuse to write his own novel with the same plot.

Then the novel blows up. People can’t stop talking about it and its shocking plot twist. As this happens, his life changes, too. Suddenly, everyone knows him, and what he says now matters. Even those who treated him like a doormat in the past want to be on his side all of a sudden. He gets invited to a lot of events as well, and his book tour becomes a huge success. He even finds the love of his life. Everything is great.

Until one day, he receives a message from someone who goes by the name Talented Tom. That person, who’s reaching out to him via the contact form on his website, tells him they know about his stolen plot.

What happens next is for you to find out—by reading the book, of course. And although I can no longer reveal additional information because I don’t want to spoil things for you, let me give you this assurance: It’s so twisted, so you’ll enjoy it for sure.

Imagine, besides anticipating what would happen next to the main protagonist, you’ll also look forward to the revelation of what the stolen plot is all about. What makes it “fool-proof” to begin with? Why are people willing to take a lot of risks for it?

So, yes, I can say that the whole “novel within a novel” aspect of this book takes it to the next level, and that’s another reason why you should pick it up.

I also had fun following the journeys of its characters who are all flawed. Rooting for them while hating on and questioning many aspects of their personalities and motivations also contributed to the overall positive reading experience I had.

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