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Now you know: ‘You Should Have Known'

You Should Have Known
A Wagner

You Should Have Known, a novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz


Jean Hanff Korelitz, author of “Admission,” has written a smart new thriller. “You Should Have Known” is the story of how Manhattan therapist Grace Reinhart Sachs’ enviable life falls apart – and gets put back together again.

Grace is the author of a soon-to-be-published book, “You Should Have Known,” which posits her theory that the seeds of spousal and relationship discontent are planted right from the start, despite the fact that women in particular disregard their initial bursts of intuition or even the signs that are staring them in the face.

Right from the start she tells an interviewer from “Vogue” that you meet someone and:

“Then comes the story. He has a story. He has many stories. And I’m not suggesting that he’s making things up or lying outright. He might be – but even if he doesn’t do that, we do it for him, because as human beings we have such a deep, ingrained need for narrative, especially if we’re gong to play an important role in the narrative; you know, I’m already the heroine and here comes my hero. . . .This person has become a made-up character in a made-up story.”

She is pretty smug about her own practically perfect life. She lives in the spacious Manhattan apartment that she grew up in with her husband, Harvard-educated pediatric oncologist Jonathan Sachs, and their son Henry.

Grace’s attraction to Jonathan was instantaneous when she encountered him in a Harvard basement:

Before Grace had taken her next breath, this still unnamed man had become the most trusted, valued, and desired person in her life. She just knew. So she had chosen him, and now, as a result, she was having the right life, with the right husband, the right child, the right home, the right work.”

But Grace couldn’t have been more wrong.

It takes awhile for this story to get moving, but once it does, Grace’s entire world collapses.

On the evening of a fundraiser for the Rearden School, where Henry – like his mother before him – goes, a school mother is brutally murdered. And Jonathan Sachs goes missing. Grace denies the connection, telling herself “the outright lie that everything would be all right.” It’s not.

Lucky for Grace, she inherited a Connecticut lakeside cottage, where she and Henry can retreat to escape media scrutiny and pull their lives together. Grace must come to grips with a married lifetime of pathological lies and the certain knowledge that, yes, she should have known. But she didn’t.

“She Should Have Known” is available on and at your favorite New York bookstores.

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