Book Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

May 18, 2021


The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz follows a failed writer that found himself with a bestseller on his hands, a mysterious person, however, keeps claiming it is plagiarized. Ms. Korelitz is a published author, and founder of BookTheWriter, a New York City based service that offers “Pop-Up Book Groups.

  • 336 pages
  • Publisher : Celadon Books
  • Language : English
  • ISBN-10 : 125079076X

Book Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
My rating for The Plot4
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I very much enjoy books about books, like the wonderful Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, I think many bibliophiles do as well. The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz is not just about books, but also about the publishing industry, as well as what just an accusation of plagiarism can do to a writer, professionally and mentally.

After I requested a galley of this book, I found it was one of the most anticipated books to come out. I can understand why, the synopsis peaks one’s curiosity immediately, and a huge potential can be read between the lines.

The book is very well written, takes its time building a story and narrative. Among the pages, the reader will also find excerpts from the protagonist fictional best-selling novel.

A word of warning, the book follows a man who is not very likeable, which I think might turn off some readers. Jacob Finch Bonner’s inner dialogue about others, while constantly missing internal introspection, along with the world around him, was fascinating. Add to that the musings of a writer disappointed with the turn his once promising career took a noise dive, without him even noticing.
And he feels too sorry for himself to do anything about it, furthering the downward trajectory of his career and life.

About three quarters into the novel, I thought I figured out the “twist”, and I did. While not as shocking or suspenseful, I still enjoyed reading the rest, finding out how thing will be resolved.

Frankly, I thought the storytelling was very well done, and the narrative very readable. I enjoyed the story within a story plot. One could even make an argument that the narrative is a story within a story, with another related story being told unbeknownst to the reader.

It takes an enormous amount of guts, and audacity for Ms. Korelitz to write about a best-selling novel, while including parts of that novel, in her novel (got that?). Whether one likes it or not (I did), the chutzpah to create this sort of structure deserves admiration.


A struggling writer, with one published book, finds himself teaching a third-rate MFA program in Vermont. One of Jacob Finch Bonner’s students, however, seem to have an innate talent for storytelling but only shares a bit of his plot.

Several years later, Jacob finds out the student died, and he expands on the few pages he gave him. Someone, however, recognizes the work and starts harassing Jacob online and through the mail.

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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