14 April 2014
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.
The last book I read on vacation (sitting in the back of the car because Dad prefers to drive = primo reading and napping time). I had never read Meg Wolitzer before but The Interestings came very highly recommended.
And it does deliver. The beginning is so, so wonderful and I loved every word that conjured up the high school arts camp and Jules's circle of "Interestings." Where I started losing the narrative was post-college. Some Big Things had happened and then there was a bit too much meandering around in What Shall I Do With My Life Since My High School Dreams Are No Longer Feasible Land for my personal taste (and one jaunt into Moonies territory that was just odd) but it picked back up for an excellent ending. Had I not been riding in a car with my parents I might have cried.
I greatly enjoyed the musings on what we're meant to do and what it means to be pushed or talented as a teen. Are we all meant to work toward great things or are there only a few talented ones who do great things while the rest of us lump along and make do?
Dear FTC: I purchased my Nook copy of this book.