The Plot

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2020

The Plot arrives on the heels of Jean’s best­selling nov­el You Should Have Known (recent­ly adapt­ed on HBO as The Undo­ing star­ring Nicole Kid­man and Hugh Grant) – an entic­ing­ly smart, propul­sive lit­er­ary thriller about a sto­ry too good not to steal, the fame-hun­gry writer who steals it, and the vin­dic­tive read­er who uncov­ers the truth.

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; he has­n’t writ­ten – let alone pub­lished – any­thing decent in years. When Evan Park­er, 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.

Jake returns to the down­ward tra­jec­to­ry of his own career and braces him­self for the super­no­va pub­li­ca­tion of Evan Park­er’s first nov­el, but it nev­er comes. When he dis­cov­ers that his for­mer stu­dent has died, pre­sum­ably with­out ever com­plet­ing his book, Jake does what any self-respect­ing writer would do with a sto­ry like that – a sto­ry that absolute­ly needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Park­er’s pre­dic­tions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoy­ing the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised, and read all over the world. But at the height of his glo­ri­ous new life, an email arrives: You are a thief.

As Jake strug­gles to under­stand his antag­o­nist and hide the truth from his read­ers and pub­lish­ers, he begins to learn more about his late stu­dent, and what he dis­cov­ers both amazes and ter­ri­fies him. Who was Evan Park­er, and how did he get the idea for his sure thing” of a nov­el? What is the real sto­ry behind the plot? Who stole it from whom?

Discussion Questions