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
Story was Ok, Narration was pretty bad, she spoke so fast I actually thought I had hit the speed control in error. I almost returned it without listening but because the chacters were exactly my age I plowed on and you do get used to the speed reading after awhile. These people weren't anything like the folks I grew up with, while I loved reliving, Nixon, Watergate, Munich, and the Berlin wall, that was all I had in common with these people. I just couldn't bring myself to care about any of them.
I didn't finish the book. I am going to read it instead of having a tedious speaker reading to me.
I found this appealing but I'm sure many listeners will be annoyed by the mostly well-off East Coast young people whining about what they don't have or can't do. It could have been shorter. Also it's mostly in chronological order but then items will be thrown in out of order for no particular reason.
The characters' happiest times are in high school at their arts camp. For many of us, being an adult is way better than adolescence but those people keep trying to return to their youth, which of course never works.
The narration is very good and it kept my attention. It's an interesting contrast with Shotgun Lovesongs, which is also about a group of friends in middle age regretting their lost youth. I think that one was deeper than this book.
I typically listen to mysteries or thrillers because they engage my attention more than literary fiction, which can be easy to stray from while driving, etc. But The Interestings thoroughly engaged my attention no matter where I was when I listened. In fact, I looked forward to driving, exercising, whatever and whenever I could just to be able to get back into the story.
What I liked:
• The writing. Wolitzer is a master of the meaningful metaphor. Her analogies are pitch perfect.
• The characters. Wonderfully drawn, fully human, the characters come to life, and you feel you really get to know them as people -- sometimes that's good, sometimes not so much.
• The narration. Well paced and engagingly delivered. Jen Tullock reads like she enjoyed what she was doing.
• The story. The tale explores the lives of 8 young people who meet at a summer camp for the arts, and traces their lives into middle age. We discover through them what it means to have dreams dashed and dreams fulfilled -- and that sometimes it is difficult to determine which is best.
This is a great book and a terrific listen.
Jen Tullock brings the book alive, giving each character a unique, real voice.
The story is enthralling, moving you through the lives of several people over many decades, some deeply, some only fleetingly. The chapters are not chronological, but that's not a hindrance.
I enjoyed this book because it reminded me of my friends and me growing up. Just a bunch of friends who stay pretty much who they were throughout their lives. We're all supposed to grow up and live and learn, but in the end, do we? Well written and fun.
Avid listener, busy mom.
How well the aging of the characters was portrayed believably.
A Happy Marriage, except there are many more characters in this book than there were in Rafael Yglesias' book.
No. Her voice was resonant and pertinent.
This was a long book that took me through our trip to France & The Hamptons. It's versatile and easy to appreciate & enjoy in a casual, summer way.
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.
I'm not sure since I only listened to the audio, but I do think it added something.
She's good at doing different voices--male/female/accented.
Funny, grand in scope, emotionally intimate--a really fantastic novel.
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.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.