06 December 2021

Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz book cover

* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

Jake is a creative writing teacher suffering from self doubt and writer's block following the enormous success of his debut novel. When one of his students has a killer idea for a book, Jake is jealous and waits for the inevitable sensation when the student's bestseller hits the shelves. Years later, Jake learns his student died unexpectedly before finishing his novel (not a spoiler, it's in the blurb) and he faces a moral dilemma.

What follows from there forms the basis of The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz and it's an exciting thriller for writers, published authors, aspiring authors, librarians, booksellers, storytellers, readers, bibliophiles and creative types.
"Stories, of course, are common as dirt. Everyone has one, if not an infinity of them, and they surround us at all times whether we acknowledge them or not. Stories are the wells we dip into to be reminded of who we are, and the ways we reassure ourselves that, however obscure we may appear to others, we are actually important, even crucial, to the ongoing drama of survival: personal, societal, and even as a species." Page 61
Interspersed amongst the goings on are excerpts of Jake's bestselling book, offering us a neat view into his dilemma and eventually the origin of the trouble that eventually follows. Because of course there's going to be trouble.

The Plot will definitely appeal to readers and I enjoyed seeing the many authors mentioned throughout the book. The list of shamed writers on page 76 was a highlight:
"Then he would be relegated to the circle of shamed writers forever and without hope of appeal: James Frey, Stephen Glass, Clifford Irving, Greg Mortenson, Jerzy Kosinski..." Page 76
Of course, then I had to stop reading so I could go and find out the juicy details of the literary scandals attached to the authors mentioned, only being familiar with James Frey.

The Plot is an exploration of the role writers have in telling a story, the duty and responsibility of authors to tell a story well lest the spark of inspiration drift away to alight on the pen or keyboard of a more disciplined and deserving writer.

It's clear to me that the author Jean Hanff Korelitz has given a lot of consideration to the nature and creativity of the writing process, the elusive source of inspiration and the troubling loss of it and the moral dilemmas and complexities of plagiarism and theft.

An entertaining read for booklovers, highly recommended.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.

My Rating:

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