The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
A Novel

74%

11 Critic Reviews

“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...
-NY Times

Synopsis

Named a best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Time, and The Chicago Tribune, and named a notable book by The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post

“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 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.
 

About Meg Wolitzer

See more books from this Author
Meg Wolitzer is the author of eight previous novels, including The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, and The Wife. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. She lives in New York City.
 
Published April 9, 2013 by Riverhead Books. 482 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 12 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Interestings
All: 11 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Apr 19 2013

“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...

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Mar 31 2013

The story of Jules and friends begins with both high hopes for their teenage summers and wistfulness over how they will evolve over time. But the book treats time as something gelatinous and moves through it with great difficulty.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Jessica Holland on Aug 31 2013

Wolitzer explores her themes seriously, but there's also enough lightness, pace and wit that it's easy to tear through the book in a day.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Lizzie Skurnick on Apr 10 2013

We're used to what happens when people lose each other, not when they, against all odds, cleave. There is an actual tragedy that steers the fate of the group, but this fades alongside the mystery of what's kept them together...

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Jennifer Reese on Apr 09 2013

...40 years in the lives of six characters is a lot of ground to cover, and Wolitzer sometimes skims the surface.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Peter Aspden on Aug 02 2013

...Wolitzer reminds us that we serve ourselves badly by dwelling on our former naivety. Nothing is finally more interesting than the rough-hewing of our dreams, and how we learn to fight back.

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NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Ted on Mar 19 2013

“A tour de force . . . expertly chronicles the experiences of the youngest of the baby boomer generation.”

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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Ellen Akins on Apr 04 2013

Now Wolitzer has produced a novel that is big by at least a couple of clear measures — it’s nearly 500 pages long, and it covers a lot of time and drama in the lives of a small circle of friends. These characters, New Yorkers, meet as teenagers...

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The Economist

Above average
Reviewed by The Economist on Aug 31 2013

Their collective obsession with the summer of 1974—those hopeful, memorable months at camp—is a little too forced to be believable. In the end, as one character says, “they’re not that interesting.”

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Grace O’Connell on Apr 12 2013

But what has really been accomplished in these...pages is the elusive capture of lives that are utterly real and yet still, as the title promises, irresistibly interesting in a way that real life rarely is.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Grace O’Connell on Apr 12 2013

You may find yourself having to take a break, that’s how visceral it is. And when you do, don’t be surprised to observe that the most gut-wrenching moments of real life feel a lot like a Meg Wolitzer book, rather than the other way around.

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Reader Rating for The Interestings
66%

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Felicia Marie Dougherty

Felicia Marie Dougherty 19 Nov 2014

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Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

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