You Should Have Known
Jean Hanff Korelitz
Grand Central Publishing 2014
448 pages


The year is young, but You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz is the best novel I have read to date.  It will likely remain at or near the top of my best of the year list.  Kindle version at Amazon.

Gifted New York psychotherapist Grace Reinhart-Sachs has it all:  An amazing 15-year career, a successful paediatric oncologist husband Jonathan who she indulges and protects, a delightful, intelligent young son, and membership in a community of “friends” dripping with money, pretension and clout.

She is ready to catapult to fame as a media darling, filling her available time with photo shoots and high profile interviews surrounding the release of her first book, You Should Have Known.

The publication is a direct, no-nonsense book that provides women with blunt advice on how to create and maintain the perfect relationship—not unlike her own.  Able to spot others’ mistakes a mile away, she maintains a cynical holier than thou perspective that squarely blames women in bad relationships for ignoring obvious precursors to disaster, and/or failing to listen to their intuition when they could have and should have made the right choice in the first place.

While Grace’s heroic husband is attending an out of state medical conference, tragedy strikes.   One of the parents at their son’s prestigious private school is murdered.  Rumours spread like wildfire.  Everything hits the fan and the headlines.  Jonathan is unreachable.  With growing resentment and not so thinly disguised sarcasm, Grace jumps into the ever growing pool of lies.  Life as she knows it, unravels.  Should she have known?

This original new novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz explores how love, trust and what you want to see can overshadow what is  denied.   It is insightful, multi-dimensional, and darkly entertaining.

Jean Hanff Korelitz is an excellent author, planting seeds of doubt and revving anxiety.  She deftly mixes mystery and suspicion, and a large dose of irony.  Her characters are interesting and evocative.

You Should Have Known is very enjoyable, and highly recommended.