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The Interestings

by

The Interestings Cover

ISBN13: 9781594488399
ISBN10: 1594488398
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From bestselling author Meg Wolitzer a dazzling, panoramic novel about what becomes of early talent, and the roles that art, money, and even envy can play in close friendships.

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 New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.

Review:

"Wolitzer follows a group of friends from adolescence at an artsy summer camp in 1974 through adulthood and into late-middle age as their lives alternately intersect, diverge and reconnect....Ambitious and involving, capturing the zeitgeist of the liberal intelligentsia of the era." Kirkus (Starred Review)

Review:

"Like Virginia Woolf in The Waves, Meg Wolitzer gives us the full picture here, charting her characters' lives from the self-dramatizing of adolescence, through the resignation of middle age, to the attainment of a wisdom that holds all the intensities of life in a single, sustained chord, much like this book itself. The wit, intelligence, and deep feeling of Wolitzer's writing are extraordinary and The Interestings brings her achievement, already so steadfast and remarkable, to an even higher level." Jeffrey Eugenides

Review:

"Remarkable...[The Interestings's] inclusive vision and generous sweep place it among the ranks of books like Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot. The Interestings is warm, all-American, and acutely perceptive about the feelings and motivations of its characters, male and female, young and old, gay and straight; but it's also stealthily, unassumingly, and undeniably a novel of ideas....With this book [Wolitzer] has surpassed herself." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"I don't want to insult Meg Wolitzer by calling her sprawling, engrossing new novel, The Interestings, her most ambitious, because throughout her 30-year career of turning out well-observed, often very funny books at a steady pace, I have no doubt she has always been ambitious....But The Interestings is exactly the kind of book that literary sorts who talk about ambitious works...are talking about....Wolitzer is almost crushingly insightful; she doesn't just mine the contemporary mind, she seems to invade it." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"A sprawling, marvelously inventive novel...ambitious and enormously entertaining." The Washington Post

Review:

"The big questions asked by The Interestings are about what happened to the world (when, Jules wonders, did 'analyst' stop denoting Freud and start referring to finance?) and what happened to all that budding teenage talent. Might every privileged schoolchild have a bright future in dance or theater or glass blowing? Ms. Wolitzer hasn't got the answers, but she does have her characters mannerisms and attitudes down cold." The New York Times

Review:

"A supremely engrossing, deeply knowing, genius-level enterprise....The novel is thick and thickly populated. And yet Wolitzer is brilliant at keeping the reader close by her side as she takes her story back and forth across time, in and out of multiple lives, and into the tangle of countless continuing, sometimes compromising, conversations." Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Meg Wolitzer's previous novels include The Wife, The Position, The Ten-Year Nap, and The Uncoupling. She lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

Melinda Ott, July 29, 2015 (view all comments by Melinda Ott)
As anyone who has had any contact with me while I was reading this, they already know that I did not enjoy this book. In fact, I've said--and I stand by he sentiment--that if I, myself, had not been the one to recommend this to my book club, I would have DNF'd it.

I know, what a way to start out a review...but stick with me here

There were two things that really bothered me about this book. First of all, I'm just tired of books about the intelligentsia of New York. I don't mean the actors, writers, etc of New York, but the rich folk whose talent seems to be more due to their birth and trust funds than any skills they develop. Secondly, the sort of turning point plot line hit a bit too close to home for me as it was very reminiscent of some things going on with people close to me,

But, you see, while those are valid reasons for me not to like this book, I will admit that they are very subjective reasons. Because of that, I can't base on whether or not I would recommend this book on how I felt about it. So, let me try to take my feelings out of this and look at the mechanics of the book.

There were things that I did like this book, and things that I found problematic. I enjoyed Woltizer's writing--it kept me engaged, which is saying a lot since I didn't actually like the book. She does an impressive job of placing the narrative in time. This story spans from the early 70's to the current day and the reader always feels like they are in the same time as the characters. One of my favorite scenes was near the end (not a spoiler!) where the two elderly owners of the camp are reminiscing about the camp's glory days--I was immediately transported to the scene in Dirty Dancing where Max Kellerman and Tito Suarez are talking about how things are not like they used to be in the Catskills (and it is always a good thing when a book evokes Dirty Dancing!).

I felt the characters well-rounded, but I can't say that I liked any of them. In fact, the only character I did like was the tertiary Rory, who is fun and wild and doesn't fit at all with the her family and the other characters in the book. Then there is the issue of Jonah. There is nothing wrong with the character of Jonah--except the fact that he is completely superfluous to this book. He could be completely lifted out of the narrative and it would have no impact on the story whatsoever. In fact, there were times when I completely forgot about him--only to have him turn up and have 100 pages devoted to him.

Ultimately, if I take my own personal feelings out of this book, I will admit that there were some great things about it and some things that just did not work. Would I recommend it? Well, I probably wouldn't offer up this title as a recommendation, but if someone asked if they should read it, I'd tell them to go ahead. They might like it. Or they might not.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Kayley, October 23, 2014 (view all comments by Kayley)
Meg Wolitzer is a true story teller, at no point did this feel to me like a novel with a focus and a story arc, it felt like living a life. In finishing this novel I felt like I lived a lifetime, I had unrequited dreams, great friends, and a constant quest for what it all meant and who I was supposed to become. As a writer, the scope of this novel is mind blowing, and it also challenged me to think about my creativity and "talent" and how it may or may not follow me through life.
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tangotue2, October 22, 2014 (view all comments by tangotue2)
The Interestings grabbed me from the first page as I easily related to Jules (Julie)lack of self worth. I loved how true to my experiences in the 1970's and 80's this book portrays bridging many significant events together that I remember so well.
Six friends who meet at a summer camp for aspiring artists in the Berkshires (My home growing up)captured the true essence of that very important time in my life with characters that were interesting and mostly likable. Watching them grow through the decade's facing similar fates as my friends in real life was in some ways frustrating, but also kept me enthralled to find out what was going to happen next.
I highly recommend this book to the generation x crowd and anyone curious enough to explore a true depiction of those special times that were in many ways so much easier and straight forward.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594488399
Author:
Wolitzer, Meg
Publisher:
Riverhead Hardcover
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literature-Contemporary Women
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20130409
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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The Interestings Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Riverhead Hardcover - English 9781594488399 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Wolitzer follows a group of friends from adolescence at an artsy summer camp in 1974 through adulthood and into late-middle age as their lives alternately intersect, diverge and reconnect....Ambitious and involving, capturing the zeitgeist of the liberal intelligentsia of the era."
"Review" by , "Like Virginia Woolf in The Waves, Meg Wolitzer gives us the full picture here, charting her characters' lives from the self-dramatizing of adolescence, through the resignation of middle age, to the attainment of a wisdom that holds all the intensities of life in a single, sustained chord, much like this book itself. The wit, intelligence, and deep feeling of Wolitzer's writing are extraordinary and The Interestings brings her achievement, already so steadfast and remarkable, to an even higher level."
"Review" by , "Remarkable...[The Interestings's] inclusive vision and generous sweep place it among the ranks of books like Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot. The Interestings is warm, all-American, and acutely perceptive about the feelings and motivations of its characters, male and female, young and old, gay and straight; but it's also stealthily, unassumingly, and undeniably a novel of ideas....With this book [Wolitzer] has surpassed herself."
"Review" by , "I don't want to insult Meg Wolitzer by calling her sprawling, engrossing new novel, The Interestings, her most ambitious, because throughout her 30-year career of turning out well-observed, often very funny books at a steady pace, I have no doubt she has always been ambitious....But The Interestings is exactly the kind of book that literary sorts who talk about ambitious works...are talking about....Wolitzer is almost crushingly insightful; she doesn't just mine the contemporary mind, she seems to invade it."
"Review" by , "A sprawling, marvelously inventive novel...ambitious and enormously entertaining."
"Review" by , "The big questions asked by The Interestings are about what happened to the world (when, Jules wonders, did 'analyst' stop denoting Freud and start referring to finance?) and what happened to all that budding teenage talent. Might every privileged schoolchild have a bright future in dance or theater or glass blowing? Ms. Wolitzer hasn't got the answers, but she does have her characters mannerisms and attitudes down cold."
"Review" by , "A supremely engrossing, deeply knowing, genius-level enterprise....The novel is thick and thickly populated. And yet Wolitzer is brilliant at keeping the reader close by her side as she takes her story back and forth across time, in and out of multiple lives, and into the tangle of countless continuing, sometimes compromising, conversations."
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