By Megan Bosarge
What’s more important in a novel? Great writing or a great story? Is there a difference between the two? And is it wrong to tell someone else’s story? Such are the probing questions in Jean Hanff Korelitz page-turning novel, The Plot.
Jacob Finch Bonner is officially a has-been writer. After the glitter from his first and only mildly successful novel settles, he is left with nothing but chronic writers block and a job teaching at a low rate creative writing MFA program. Bonner has grown weary of providing the same feedback to young aspiring writers, in an effort to give them false hope that their mediocre work is indeed promising. He performs this charade with daunting automaticity, all the while regretting that he never made it as a writer himself.
When Bonner meets an arrogant young man who claims to have a New York Times Bestselling novel idea, he can’t help but stifle a laugh, until he hears the plot and realizes that as much as he would like to hate this young man and his writing, he does indeed have a story that could put even an average writer on the map.
Years later, Bonner, still struggling as a writing instructor with no new publications to show for it, stumbles upon the information that not only did the arrogant young man from his former teaching years never create that brilliant novel, he had died shortly after telling his idea to Bonner. Bonner, despite conflicted feelings, decides that a story this good cannot be left untold.
Jacob Finch Bonner is now the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of “Crib”, a guest on Oprah and in film adaptation meetings with Steven Spielberg. The brilliant novel idea has, as promised, put him on the map, and now all of his wildest dreams have come true.
And then one day, Bonner begins to get strange messages claiming he is a thief. In an effort to try and salvage his reputation, and his life, he sets out in a mission to find the truth about the fictional twisted plot, which may not actually be fictional at all.
Korelitz’s writing is gripping and immersive. You get glimpses of this “perfect plot” throughout the novel, and will quickly turn the pages to find out what the infamous twist is. Meanwhile, the two stories real and fictional converge like a zipper, coming together in an ending you won’t see coming from miles away.
Korelitz expounds on all definitions of the term plot: the story, the well-crafted scheme and of course, the burial site. It is at once a literary work of art, weaving in nods to famous writers and not so subtly stealing lines in an effort to prove a point. If you love writing or you just love the feeling of reading a book that doesn’t let up, you’ll enjoy “The Plot”.