“Remarkable . . . With this book [Wolitzer] has surpassed herself.”—The New York Times Book Review "A victory . . . The Interestings secures Wolitzer's place among the best novelists of her generation. . . . She's every bit as literary as Franzen or Eugenides. But the very human moments in her work hit you harder than the big ideas. This isn't women's fiction. It's everyone's."—Entertainment Weekly (A) From New York Times–bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a new novel that has been called "genius" (The Chicago Tribune), “wonderful” (Vanity Fair), "ambitious" (San Francisco Chronicle), and a “page-turner” (Cosmopolitan), which The New York Times Book Review says is "among the ranks of books like Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and Jeffrey Eugenides The Marriage Plot." The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken. Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing...
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
At one point, every adolescent thinks they’re the most fascinating person who has ever lived. The charm of Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings is that she honors that feeling without ignoring the fact that it’s far from true. During the long, hot summer of 1974, working-class teenager Julie falls in with a precocious and privileged clique at a prestigious New England arts camp. As the crew’s paths take dramatically different turns over the decades, their shared bond remains intact. Wolitzer’s witty, life-affirming novel shows how deep friendships change and nurture us over the years—even when our paths diverge.
In the nefarious, thoroughly repulsive summer of 1974, 15-year-old Julie Jacobson, an outsider and possibly even a freak from the suburbs, gets a scholarship to an arts camp and falls in with a group of kids the aptly self-named Interestings. Talented, attractive, and from New York City, to Julie they are like royalty and French movie stars. There Julie, renamed Jules, finds her place, and Wolitzer her story: the gap between promise and genuine talent, the bonds and strains of long friendships, and the journey from youth to middle age, with all its compromises, secrets, lies, and disparities. One member of the group, Jonah, is the son of a famous folk singer, and another, Ethan, becomes an extremely successful animator, and another Interestings member whose brother-in-law is accused of raping a girl in the group, flees his court date and disappears. Meanwhile, Jules, the character Wolitzer focuses on, becomes a therapist, marries a nice guy with no interest in being as interesting as her camp friends, and copes with jealousy and not having enough money in New York City. While Wolitzer (The Ten-Year Nap) is adept at switching between past and present, and showing the different fears that dog Jules at different ages, the problem is that the Interestings are never quite as interesting as this 464-page look at them requires them to be.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I really liked the characters, especially Jules and Ethan. The ending and the final section, though, seem contrived somewhat, hence the less-than-stellar ranking. But on the plus side, this was a captivating read for most of the book, and the writing was terrific. All in all I'm very glad I read it, and overall thoroughly enjoyed it.
Excellent writing, very engaging.
Finally a story that felt visceral, real and in a way an American story. It touched me as if I knew the characters as they were both generic yet unique, as we all are.