‘You Should Have Known’ will change the way you think

You Should Have Known
Jean Hanff Korelitz is also the author of “Admission.”
Credit: Mark Czajkowski

Most people pride themselves on knowing when someone is lying. When we hear about former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s outrageous illicit affairs or Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, we look at their smart and stylish wives and think, “She must have known, right? How could she not have?” This “should have known” belief is the idea behind Jean Hanff Korelitz’s latest novel.

The book’s protagonist is Grace, a therapist living the life she’s always wanted. Married to a sympathetic pediatric oncologist, she has an intelligent and respectful son and has just written a highly anticipated self-help book cautioning women to hear what men are telling them at the very beginning of a relationship. But when Grace’s husband goes missing and she finds herself in the middle of a media frenzy, she’s left wondering how she could have missed her own advice.

According to Korelitz, you’d be surprised how many smart women have their own “should have known” moment. “The British publisher asked everyone who worked at the publishing company to submit their ‘should have known’ moments and I got to pick the winner. These women are very, very smart. They’re working for this great publisher, yet they all seem to have some story where you wanted to look at them and think, ‘Really? Really?’”

The winner of the aforementioned contest was a woman who went on a first date with a guy who told her that he saw sexuality as free-flowing and not something you can put in a box. “She dated him for years and, of course, he turned out to be gay,” Korelitz muses.

Like Korelitz’s other novels — among them “Admission” — this one is about a smart, independent woman who isn’t entirely likeable. “Every single one of my novels starts with a woman who seems to have her s— together but is destroyed by the middle or end of the book,” she says. “If this is an unconscious choice, it’s so unconscious that it might as well be conscious. It’s an overwhelming comparative, almost, to look at these women and basically take them apart and strip them down and see what’s left.”

In this novel, the principal character is a much different woman than the one you meet at the beginning of the book. You, too, just might be changed after finishing “You Should Have Known” — a little more discerning, a little more aware, and a little less critical of those wives the camera pans to during the next high-profile press conference.

Author reading
March 18, 6 p.m.
The Corner Bookstore
1313 Madison Ave., 212-831-3554
cornerbookstorenyc.com

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

The Word

The Word: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally…

Well, everybody, it finally happened. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went and got themselves hitched — according to noted scandal sheet the Associated Press —…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

NFL

Giants vs. Patriots: 3 things to watch

The Giants wrap up their extended preseason campaign Thursday night by playing host to the Patriots.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…