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The Interestings: A Novel Paperback – Mar 25 2014

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (March 25 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594632340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594632341
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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

"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)

"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

"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

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

"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

“Masterful, sweeping . . . Her clear gaze captures the intricacies of lasting friendship, enduring love, marital sacrifice, bitter squabbles, family secrets, parental angst and deep loss. Though the story hops back and forth in time, it is rarely confusing, frequently funny and always engaging. . . . A story that feels real and true and more than fulfills the promise of the title. It is interesting, yes, but also moving, compelling, fascinating, and rewarding.”—Miami Herald

“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. . . . It’s a small world in which these characters want to live large, and Wolitzer is wonderful at conveying that through the point of view of someone who doesn’t even see it, all the while shading in the stuff that lives, big and small, are made of.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“It’s a ritual of childhood—that solemn vow never to lose touch, no matter what. And for six artsy teenagers whose lives unfold in Wolitzer’s big-hearted, ambitious new novel, the vow holds for almost four decades.”—People

"Readers may also enjoy comparing The Interestings with Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children . . . In probing the unpredictable relationship between early promise and success and the more dependable one between self-acceptance and happiness, Wolitzer's novel is not just a big book but a shrewd one."—Christian Science Monitor

"[The Interestings] soars, primarily because Wolitzer insists on taking our teenage selves seriously and, rather than coldly satirizing them, comes at them with warm humor and adult wisdom."—Elle

"In Meg Wolitzer's lovely, wise The Interestings, Julie Jacobson begins the summer of '74 as an outsider at arts camp until she is accepted into a clique of teenagers with whom she forms a lifelong bond. Through well-tuned drama and compassionate humor, Wolitzer chronicles the living organism that is friendship, and arcs it over the cours of more than thirty years."—O, the Oprah Magazine

"Wonderful."—Vanity Fair

"Juicy, perceptive and vividly written."—NPR.org

"A sprawling, ambitious and often wistful novel."—USA Today

"What becomes a legend most? or rather, who? Those with innate ability? Those blessed with enough beauty or money to indulge any creative whim? Or just those who want it the most? In The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer's quarry is ambition: what it means to have it, how to use it, how it's lost."—Time

"Best-selling novelist Meg Wolitzer specializes in witty, knowing takes on contemporary marriage, divorce, and relationships. Her ninth novel, The Interestings, is smart, nuanced, and fun to read, in part because of the effervescent evocation of New York City from Watergate to today, in part because of the idiosyncratic authenticity of her characters."—The Daily Beast

"You’ll want to be friends with these characters long after you put down the book.”—Marie Claire

"A page-turner."—Cosmopolitan

“[A] big, juicy novel . . . Wolitzer’s finger is unerringly on the pulse of our social culture."—Readers Digest

"Meg Wolitzer kicks off her buzzy tenth novel in 1974 at a summer camp for artsy kids, where a tight-knit group of campers is plotting world domination. The result is a Franzen-like treatise on talent, fate, friendship, and the limits of all three."—V Magazine

“Breathtaking in its scope and a remarkably fun page-turner . . . “[Wolitzer's] social commentary on art, money and fame should have her compared to Tom Wolfe, but her work is much larger than that.”—Matchbook

“[The Interestings is] so approachable one can almost miss the excellence and precision of its prose. . . . Ultimately The Interestings is absorbing and immensely likeable.”—Nylon

"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

"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)

About the Author

Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times bestselling author of The Interestings—pilot episode now available on Amazon Video—The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, The Wife, and Sleepwalking. She is also the author of the young adult novel, Belzhar. Wolitzer lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dull and formulaic. The writer is repetitive and clichéd. The early years of the characters were engaging. Then I continued on despite my growing boredom and disdain for the poor quality of the writing. Got almost halfway. If you want a book that is well-constructed and the characters are fleshed-out and complex, read Philip Roth. This ironically is the least Interestings book I have read (45 % off) in years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel up to three quarters of the way. I was captivated by the characters and their lives beginning with the summer they all met at camp and bonded only in the way camp can allow. The lives of Jules, Ash and their friends through their twenties and thirties are filled with interesting ideas and choices, the bonds of family and friendship are explored. I felt and shared their joys and frustrations. Then, the problem with this book commences. Their Forties and fifties become tired clichéd lines, the writing falls off, Wolitzer would have us believe that lives should be settled by our fifties, bereft of spontanaiety and grief. I lost respect for her characters.
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By books rock TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 29 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Interestings

Our lives are a continuum of family, friends and acquaintances. How these relationships interweave over time creates a quiltlike array of stories. The novel “The Interestings” which I received as a giveaway by Goodreads, is rich in its depth of storytelling and emotion. Meg Wolitzer has created a book that draws the reader through strong character development and spicy storytelling.

The story starts with a group of kids at Spirit in the Woods camp. They become fast friends : Ethan Figman squat and homely , super smart; Jonah Bay , living in the shadow of his folksinger mom; Cathy Kiplinger, the dancer; Goodman Wolf, leader; Ash Wolf, the good girl; Julie (Jules) just lost her dad at 42, comes from a middle class background. Edie and Manny Wanderlich, the owners of the camp want it to maintain a spirit of arts and creativitiy. Finally it comes time for everyone to move on. We see them head to college, move to New York and try to maintain their friendships. Then comes the incident that changes everything! The group scatters and it seems that everyone is struggling to figure out what happened. As in life, the struggles help to shape the persons that they are and these are not quite obvious. Many topics are covered in “The Interestings”...topics like aids, autism , family dynamics, secrets...they are all there and they make this book a compelling experience. Meg Wolizter is a wonderful writer. Her work has such depth, beautiful expressive writing and unexpected plot turns. I relished reading her book and considered it amazing!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We read it with a book club. I got the impression the writer only knew about two real life versions of these characters because they all felt about as deep and developed as a mud puddle. We chose this for a book club reading and we all came to the same conclusion - this felt like a well written draft. There is potential in the idea behind the book, and even the events of the book are laid out well - it is purely the lack of the characters feeling like real people that ruined the story for us.
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By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 15 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
So many of the reviews of this book criticize it for length. I believe the author was actually using length as a device. Wolitzer covers four decades of five somewhat self-absorbed people and is deliberately verbose. This communicates both the depth and breadth of life but also the intricacies and evolution of friendship. Having said that I found it hard to stay interested in 'the interestings'. It started slow and once I was familiar with structure and pace, I found it hard to stay engaged in Jules, Ethan, Ash, Jonah, and Goodman. If I read it as a series of life essays instead of a novel I may have enjoyed more.

What I did enjoy was the scope of the effort and the occasional bon mots that are thrown out like, "Twitter," said Manny, waving his hand. "You know what that is? Termites with microphones." Then there is the ironic, "...oh boo hoo, everyone's life was hard, and if you'd survived the hardship, why write about it? Survival itself was enough." And finally, "...he's infuriated that his e-reader allows him to only know the percentage of a book he's read, not the number of pages. This, he thinks, is 92 percent stupid."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book; I had a hard time putting it down and whipped through it in less than a week. Others have provided a synopsis, so I won't, but I will say that the story is terrific; I felt like I came to know the characters and could relate to the ups and downs (some common, some extraordinary) they experienced in the process of growing from teen to 50-something. Additionally, the writing style is excellent with some very funny observations. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This a novel filled with ideas that are pertinent in this age of heightened self-consciousness. Wolitzer explores the various ways we are affected by the pressure to be special, to stand out and do better than everyone around us, especially as we get older and lose the aura of youth: "Exuberance burned away…" What do you do with your intelligence, your charisma, your beauty? How long should you go on striving to be special? Can you be happy if you're not the centre of attention? If you do not surpass your family and friends? If you're no longer convinced by your own sense of superiority? Recommended, particularly to twenty-somethings.
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