The Plot by Jan Hanff Korelitz – a review

I have to confess to not having heard of this author before, however I had watched the Undoing on TV and really enjoyed that so when I was offered a copy of this by the publisher I thought I’d give it a go, and I’m very glad I did.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz begins with Jake, an author who having achieved success with his first novel has turned to teaching whilst he struggles with producing another best seller. One of his student’s Evan says he has a great idea for a novel with a story that can’t fail. A couple of years later, Jake has lost his teaching job and is still no further forward with producing a hit book. When he spots an article saying his former student has died he is reminded of the plot of Evan’s novel. Desperate to prove he can still write a bestseller he takes the plot and becomes a success. Unfortunately someone out there knows that it wasn’t his story to tell.

I absolutely loved this novel. From the very start I was sucked into Jake’s world. Although he was pretty unlikeable really, there was something about him that made me both feel sad for him and furious with him at the same time.

It wasn’t a high octane story and was quite different to my usual reads but I found it utterly compelling. The story was good, the idea of whether you can actually own an idea is an interesting one that was explored well here. Even though I had an idea about one of the main twists way before it happened that didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all. The novel also gives us the story that Evan was going to write, and unusually for me I found that story just as enticing as the main one. Normally I find myself skipping these secondary plots to stick with the main one but not here.

The writing style felt quite novel to me, my usual reads tend to be short sharp sentences driving the plot forward, whereas this felt much slower with long sentences and descriptions giving it a really immersive feel that kept me hooked from the start.

I would highly recommend this book and will be looking out for other novels by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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