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. When 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.
... a witty nightmare of a thriller ... Purloined manuscripts used to be a staple device in traditional mysteries, but this latest wave of 'who-wrote-it?' suspense stories is edgier, more socially aware. In these tales, power imbalances rooted in gender or class tempt malefactors into thinking they’re justified in stealing someone else’s voice and story ... The plot of The Plot is so ingenious that it should be assigned as required reading in the very MFA programs it pinions, both as a model of superior narrative construction and as a warning of the grim realities of the literary life to naive wannabe writers.
If you’re a person who harbors notions about the glamour of the writing life, The Plot will jettison them to the deepest, darkest trench of the ocean floor. If you’re a novelist who has endured the humiliation of a reading with no audience, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s latest novel will help you laugh about the empty room. And if you’re a reader who likes stories where a terrible decision snowballs out of control, this book is just what the librarian ordered. Welcome to a spectacular avalanche ... as a longtime fan of Korelitz’s novels, I will say that I think The Plot is her gutsiest, most consequential book yet. It keeps you guessing and wondering, and also keeps you thinking: about ambition, fame and the nature of intellectual property (the analog kind) ... Jake Bonner’s insecurity, vulnerability and fear are familiar to those of us who have faced a blank screen, wondering how or whether we’ll be able to scramble letters into a story. Korelitz takes these creative hindrances and turns them into entertainment. Not only does she make it look easy, she keeps us guessing until the very end.
The premise is a gold mine: it generates a dazzling twist, invites deliberation on an artist's moral obligations, and sets up some droll razzing of the publishing industry's wheeler-dealings. Korelitz demonstrates masterful control with her incremental release of the big reveals...As they did in the fictional universe of The Plot, Oprah and Spielberg would do well to rally around Korelitz's lollapalooza.