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The Interestings | [Meg Wolitzer]

The Interestings

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 15 is not always enough to propel someone through life at age 30; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence.
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Publisher's Summary

From best-selling 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 15 is not always enough to propel someone through life at age 30; 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.

©2013 Megan Wolitzer (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

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3.9 (1523 )
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  •  
    Ruth 08-01-14
    Ruth 08-01-14 Member Since 2012
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    "An absolute must-read"

    This book was recommended by a friend, and honestly I couldn't believe it could possibly be as good as he said. I was wrong. It's a long book, and it spans a lot of time, but it's usually written and the characters are all absolutely wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer BROOKLYN, NY, United States 06-30-14
    jennifer BROOKLYN, NY, United States 06-30-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Good contemporary fiction"

    Spans the lives of privileged and not-so-privileged NYC kids who become NYC adults and have lives that intertwine and things happen that are both good and bad and people have regrets and do some awful things to one another but we love them anyway. Just like life!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily New York, NY 05-26-14
    Emily New York, NY 05-26-14
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    "Excellent read/listen--with a fantastic reader"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Interestings to be better than the print version?

    I'm not sure since I only listened to the audio, but I do think it added something.


    What does Jen Tullock bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She's good at doing different voices--male/female/accented.


    Any additional comments?

    Funny, grand in scope, emotionally intimate--a really fantastic novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Braine Dublin, Ireland 05-07-14
    John Braine Dublin, Ireland 05-07-14 Member Since 2015

    J.

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    "Way overhyped"
    Any additional comments?

    Here was my experience of The Interestings.

    1. I google "best books of 2013"

    2. I click the Barnes and Noble link, and then click on something called "The Interestings"

    3. I read "She's every bit as literary as Franzen or Eugenides" - ooh! that's me completely sold!

    4. Initial excitement wanes quickly. I'm thinking "This is as literary as Bridget Jones' Diary" and then I just get more and more annoyed with the book and the characters. It reads more to me like an average Young Adult novel featuring teenagers who are smug enough and annoying enough to call themselves "The Interestings" (even if tongue-in-cheek).

    5. Maybe a third of the way and finally start to get over the fact that Meg Wolitzer is not in the same league as Franzen or Euginedes by a long shot. I try not to let expectation be the sole destroyer of this book. I try to appreciate it on it's own terms but I'm still annoyed with a few things. Even if the way-overhyped quotes in best-of-the-year lists don't ruin it by high expectation alone, the title doesn't do it any favours either. They're not that interesting! And someone needs to tell Wolitzer about "show don't tell". She keeps *telling* us how funny Jules is yet she never made me laugh once.

    I think the cruel truth here is that Wolitzer is a lot less interesting and funny than she thinks she is, which is just another bullet this book shoots itself in the foot with.

    Despite all of the above, I didn't hate it - I enjoyed a lot of it but if it had a different title, and I stumbled across it in less magnanimous context, I might have enjoyed it a hell of a lot more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    "unknown" Austin, TX, United States 04-28-14
    "unknown" Austin, TX, United States 04-28-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Best book I've read this year!"

    It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did it was totally engrossing. If you were to describe the plot of The Interstings to someone it wouldn't sound like that good of a book, but once you get past the first few chapters you find yourself feeling really invested in the lives of each character who each had their own distinct voice and personality.

    I love this book, it was really well written and the voice actor was really talented.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liron 04-23-14
    Liron 04-23-14
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    "Some nice ideas, sadly not interesting"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Contemplative types


    What could Meg Wolitzer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Made it a little less contrived, shorter, less whiny. Made Jules more appealing even in her non-splashiness. Made Ethan / Jules attraction more believable, have more realness. Less telling more showing overall.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The narrator is versatile and was consistent in creating and differentiating characters. However, I would have heard them differently in my head. Too often, rather than getting into the character, I kept thinking-- oh, this is how the narrator thinks a teenager sounds.. or an adult ultrasound technician, or ..etc. And I generally disagreed. But hey, I couldn't do what she does.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Interestings?

    oh, there were too many. But almost all were all needed to make the milky plot go on. It just went on an on -- and everything so contrived.


    Any additional comments?

    After a while it felt like walking in a minefield of details. Each one meant to set off later in the book. And, every single one of them did. A 1-line review of the interestings: a lifetime of artsy--not artful--whining to realize that it's all OK after all, even when it's not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Cat Greenfield, MA 04-09-14
    Cat Greenfield, MA 04-09-14
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    "Excellent writing"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, if you enjoy a well-written character study.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Interestings?

    I'm honestly not a huge fan of character studies, but Meg Wolitzer is such a fantastic writer that the characters really came alive for me. I enjoyed the wry humor as well.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jen Tullock?

    Yes, although as many other reviewers mentioned, she spoke too fast and was a tad inconsistent during the first half of the book. She seemed to settle in to the characters by the second half. I loved her Ethan and Dennis voices.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Fuquay Varina, NC, United States 03-20-14
    Nicole Fuquay Varina, NC, United States 03-20-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Amazing Story"
    Any additional comments?

    The Interestings is a wonderful book. I fell in love with the characters and miss them terribly now that I have finished the story. I found myself constantly checking my chapter number, fearful of how close to the end I was getting. You meet a set of 5 teenagers the day they all meet at a summer camp and follow their lives all the way into adulthood. They are good but flawed people - just like most people in the real world.

    My only complaint is the narrator. I have listened to hundreds of audio books, and this is the first one for which I had to slow down the narration speed in order to keep up. Even at a slower speed, the voices aren't distorted and I wasn't at all distracted by the pace. Do buy this book. It's absolutely enchanting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Mike Lafayette, CA, USA 03-20-14
    Mike Lafayette, CA, USA 03-20-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Gets better as it goes on"
    If you could sum up The Interestings in three words, what would they be?

    This book started off a bit annoying & not very interesting. However, the character development is great. I really enjoyed the complex relationships built, and the way it circled back. Towards the end, you really knew the dynamics & personalities - and I was bummed it was over. I also enjoyed the reader - she did a great job.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen WORCESTER, MA, United States 03-09-14
    Stephen WORCESTER, MA, United States 03-09-14 Member Since 2014

    Persnickety, curmudgeonly, locked into a long daily commute which is mitigated somewhat by listening to great books.

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    "Magical summer camp, then life happens"
    What did you love best about The Interestings?

    Wolitzer's ability to get inside the heads of the characters without sounding clinical


    Have you listened to any of Jen Tullock’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No -first time


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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