You Should Have Known

You Should Have Known

3.1 45
by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she… See more details below


Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…smart and devious…Ms. Korelitz is able to glide smoothly from a watchful, occasional sinister comedy of New York manners into a much more alarming type of story.
The New York Times Book Review - Susan Dominus
Dramatic irony isn't the only pleasure of You Should Have Known; Grace's husband's pathology is erratic enough for behavior that holds genuine surprise. But the real suspense here lies in wondering when Grace will catch up to the reader. When and how will she come to know what she should have known and at some level maybe already did? The momentum of the novel, not to mention the writing, takes off just as Grace starts stumbling her way, arms outstretched, toward a glimpse of her husband's true nature.
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/26/2013
This excellent literary mystery by the author of 2009’s Admission unfolds with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. Therapist Grace Reinhart Sachs is about to embark on a publicity blitz to promote her buzzed-about book on why relationships fail, You Should Have Known. In the meantime, she cares for her 12-year-old son, Henry, who attends the same private school she went to as a child. Grace also treasures her loving relationship with her longtime husband Jonathan, a pediatric cancer doctor at a prestigious hospital. The novel’s first third offers readers an authoritative glimpse into the busy-but-leisurely lives of private-school moms. Grace does her best to get along with the school’s vapid and catty fundraising committee. She eventually learns that one of the mothers outside her social strata, Malaga Alves, was found murdered in her apartment by her young son. Grace, already tense and sad from these events, becomes more and more anxious as Jonathan, at a medical conference in the Midwest, proves unreachable over several days. The author deftly places the reader in Grace’s shoes by exploring her isolation, unease, and contempt for the rumor mill. The plot borders on hyperbole when it comes to upending what we know about one character, but that doesn’t take much away from this intriguing and beautiful book. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME Entertainment. (Mar. 2014)
Kirkus Reviews
Jason Bourne meets Martha Stewart in another of Korelitz's woman-of-a-certain-age-in-crisis dramas. The author's 2009 novel, Admission, is now a film starring Tina Fey. Well, not quite Jason Bourne. But Grace Reinhart Sachs is almost as resourceful. She lives the perfect life--or so she thinks--with a rich, famous doctor for a husband and a satisfying if hurried professional life as a therapist, pop psychologist and now author of a book called, yes, You Should Have Known, a book that's "apparently about to snag the Zeitgeist." With said snagging comes her ascent to public personhood, or, as Grace puts it in psychologese, "[t]hus completing my public infantilization." Her book urges women to take charge and exercise due diligence with regard to potential life mates, though in her own case, she had "absolutely just known, the first time she had lain eyes on Jonathan Sachs, that she would marry and love him for the rest of her life." Mistake. Karma being what it is, it only stands to reason that the perfection of her life--the great kid, happy marriage, stunningly appointed city apartment and country home--will fall apart at the mere hint of scandal. And so it does, so that when Grace discovers that he's not everything that he's cracked up to be--emphasis on cracked up--she swings into action to uncover every dirty bit of laundry that's hidden in that oak-paneled walk-in closet. Korelitz writes with clarity and an unusual sense of completeness; she doesn't overdescribe, but neither does she let much of anything go by without observing it, which slows an already deliberately paced narrative. She is also an ascended master of the psychologically fraught situation, of which Grace experiences many as she stumbles on but then rises above the wreckage of her life. A smart, leisurely study of midlife angst.
From the Publisher
"Ms. Korelitz's book is smart and devious - enough so to bring to mind another work of trickery, one that has "Gone" in its title and does not feature Scarlett O'Hara."—The New York Times"

Tempt the gods with smug self-righteousness and they will deliver a windfall of tragedy, as witness in Jean Hanff Korelitz's rollickingly good literary thriller...Korelitz writes intimately and engagingly about a social strata few are privy to, but the ugliness is very familiar."—Vanity Fair"

This consuming, expertly plotted thriller moves along at a slow burn, building up to shocking revelations about Grace's past and ending with a satisfying twist on her former relationship mantra; 'doubt can be a gift.'"—People"

Korelitz does not disappoint as she chronicles the emotional unraveling of her heroine in this gripping saga...A cut above your average who-is-this-stranger-in-my-marriage-bed novel, "You Should Have Known'' transforms itself at certain moments from a highly effective thriller into a nuanced novel of family, heritage, identity, and nurture."—The Boston Globe"

The thriller we're obsessed with."—Entertainment Weekly"

This excellent literary mystery [unfolds] with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. . . intriguing and beautiful."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

An unputdownably deft vivisection of Manhattan's upper social strata."—

Library Journal
A successful therapist with her new book, You Should Have Known, due to be published in weeks, Grace is living a life to envy: she's married to an oncologist who loves her, has a son who adores her, and lives in a great apartment in Manhattan. Her son, Henry, attends an exclusive private school, which is in the midst of an annual fundraiser. Grace attends a planning meeting with several moms she already knows plus a new member, Malaga. Imagine the moms' shock when a few days after the meeting, Malaga is found brutally murdered in her apartment. The police question everyone on the planning committee but return to talk to Grace several times. And thus begins the end of what Grace thought was a normal life. VERDICT Korelitz, the author of Admission, has crafted her second novel in the vein of Gone Girl or The Silent Wife; unfortunately, the suspense is marred by the overwritten prose. The book tends to be very New York-centric, so readers unfamiliar with the vagaries of life in Manhattan may find little to enjoy; still, fans of Korelitz's first novel may be curious enough to give this a shot. [See Prepub Alert, 9/30/13.]—Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH

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Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
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6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

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