Bingo: City scape
I experienced the craziest coincidence while reading this book, but sadly I can’t tell you about that experience without spoiling this thriller, so I’ll keep it general first, and add my spoilers below.
I don’t often read thrillers, but sometimes a review just hooks me, especially when yearning for a pageturner while reading something else. So when Dustin posted his review of The Plot on Pajiba a few weeks ago, I was immediately drawn by it, and as soon as I finished the book I was reading at the time, I started this one.
As both Dustin and msvreadsbooks mentioned, the plot of The Plot is too good to give away, but in a nutshell: Jake is a one-hit-wonder author now struggling to get published, or to even write. While teaching a creative writing program attended by people who generally have no business writing a novel, he meets an arrogant student who reveals to him that he doesn’t need to learn to write well, because the plot of his budding novel will sell itself. And when his student tells him the plot, Jake can’t help but agree that it is a guaranteed best-seller, that coveted cross between literary fiction and airport fiction. So, when Jake later discovers that the student died before publishing this masterpiece, he has to decide whether to steal the plot and once again become a celebrated author, or to continue fading away into obscurity.
Now we get to the good, spoilery part of this review!
About 1/4 of the way into the book, Alice, Jake’s love interest, is telling him about how when she grew up she did not have a stable family life, and that she ended up living with her teacher, Miss Royce. “Hang on,” I though, “that’s exactly what happened in Housekeeping, the book I finished only two days ago.” At first I thought it was just Korelitz borrowing from a book that inspired her, until 20 or so pages later, when Alice tells Jake a more detailed story about her childhood, following the exact story from Housekeeping. Sadly the story was ruined for me at that point, because I knew Alice wasn’t telling the truth and was therefore the person sending Jake anonymous messages. I still finished reading it, which is a testament to Korelitz’s ability to maintain suspense, but it was still a bummer. It’s hard to rate this book because I don’t feel like I read it the way the author intended for it to be read, so my 3 stars are highly biased by my experience.
What are the odds that just before picking up The Plot, I finished Housekeeping? I wonder if this happened to anyone else.