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The Interestings [Hardcover]

Meg Wolitzer
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 12.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

8 Aug 2013

'Every summer we sit like this. We should call ourselves something.' Ash Wolf said.

'Why?' said Goodman, her older brother. 'So the whole world can know just how unbelievably interesting we are?'

On a warm July night in 1974 six teenagers play at being cool. The friendships they make this summer will be the most important and consuming of their lives. In a teepee at summer camp they smoke pot and drink vodka & Tangs, talk of Günter Grass and the latest cassette tapes; they also share their dreams and ambitions, still so fresh and so possible.

But decades later not everyone can sustain in adulthood what had seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, has resigned herself to a more practical occupation; Cathy has stopped dancing; Jonah has laid down his guitar and taken up engineering. Only Ethan's talent has endured. As their fortunes tilt precipitously over the years, some of them dealing with great struggle, others enjoying extraordinary wealth and success, friendships are put under the strain of envy and crushing disappointment.

Against the backdrop of a changing America, from Nixon's resignation to Obama's new world, Wolitzer's panoramic tragicomedy asks how 'the Interestings' can be happy with being anything less than brilliant?


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (8 Aug 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0701188278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701188276
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.6 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"This is a wonderful book. Intelligent and subtle, it is exquisitely written with enormous warmth and depth of emotion. But what makes The Interestings exceptional is the precision and elegance of Wolitzer's writing. This should be the novel to make Wolitzer a household name here too" (Kate Mosse The Times)

"Wolitzer is a writer of prodigious energy and detail, with the knack for comic-satirical perceptions of character and culture" (Rachel Cusk Guardian)

"A complex, cleverly interwoven analysis of the moment when the lives of six friends begin to unravel'" (Viv Groskop Observer)

"Wolitzer has a knack for homing in on the kind of pretension-puncturing details that can sum up a minor character in a single sentence" (Hepzibah Anderson Daily Mail)

"Meg Wolitzer writes fluently about the American Dream and whether you should surrender your goals to reality in this wonderful novel" (Stylist)

"A breakout book" (Allison Pearson)

"If you enjoy the introspective aspects of Virginia Woolf or the American modernity of Jennifer Egan, you'll love this sweeping, tragicomic novel of ideas" (Psychologies)

"One of those generation-defining America novels that tackles big historical issues" (Marie Claire)

"Full of wit" (Emerald Street)

"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)

"Meg Wolitzer's latest offering promises to be the epic novel of the summer" (Stella, Sunday Telegraph)

"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)

"Remarkable. Its inclusive vision and generous sweep place it among the ranks of books like Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Jeffrey Eugenides The Marriage Plot ... Warm, all American, and acutely perceptive...but it's also stealthily, unassumingly, and undeniably a novel of ideas . A novel that speaks as directly to men as to women. With this book, she has surpassed herself." (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)

"Sprawling, engaging" (Jesse Dorris Time)

"Ambitious and involving, capturing the zeitgeist of the liberal intelligentsia of the era." (Kirkus, starred review)

Book Description

A heartbreaking, panoramic tragicomedy and a big American novel from bestseller Meg Wolitzer

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Patchy but ultimately worthwhile 20 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book infuriating in places - it's too long, the opening isn't particularly engaging and certain sections are predictable. But when it's good, it's very, very good, and the characters are rounded and complex enough to sustain your interest for (the majority of) the novel. It raises interesting questions, and is fundamentally about such universal things that you can't help but question your life choices after you've read it. This book isn't as good as reviews make out but, equally, it isn't a waste of 400-odd pages; you will get something from it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying read, wonderful characters 3 Sep 2013
By CJD
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Read the review of this book in The Times, never heard about it before. Such a good read especially if you "came of age" in the 70s, this book and the stories of the different characters in it will find a reflection in your own life, I am sure. So pleased I tried a new author for a change.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Bedrooms and Kitchens 9 April 2013
By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"The Interestings" is the latest novel from American author Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Ten-Year Nap. She has previously published eight novels; also among the better known, The Wife, and The Uncoupling. She is, as you might expect, the daughter of the well-known American writer Hilma Wolitzer, who has said," I mostly write about domestic situations. I truly believe that what happens in bedrooms and kitchens matters as much as what happens in boardrooms and statehouses." Meg could say much the same: this novel, at least, concerns itself with the domestic; families, gender politics: you'd have to call it chick lit, though with a literary touch. (Full disclosure: I've previously read and reviewed, in these pages, An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer.)

It is the early 1970s, the summer that Nixon resigned, and six teenagers at Spirit in the Woods, an artsy summer camp, come together. Jules Jacobson, born Julie, lower middle-class, in a forgettable suburb on New York's Long Island, but instantaneously renamed by her new friends; she will be our protagonist. Goodman and Ash Wolf, handsome/beautiful brother and sister born to a powerful and wealthy New York City family; funny-looking Ethan Figman, blazingly talented, born to a quarrelsome and poor family, by virtue of the fact that his father is a Legal Aid lawyer. Cathy Kiplinger, who'd like to think she was born to dance: except she's become much too buxom.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother 11 April 2014
Format:Hardcover
Really can't believe the reviews this has got! So bad it is laughable and nothing happens for pages and pages!!!! I gave up after struggling for days as life really is too short!

Really!

Karen S
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4.0 out of 5 stars A grower! 24 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I struggled to care about the characters at first but I persevered and finally became enthralled in their lives. I would recommend it if you enjoy coming of age style novels but the older characters were ultimately the most engaging.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, but... 10 Feb 2014
By Fiona
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is about being stuck in a moment that you can't get out of. Well realised, but the subject matter means it is repetitive and sometimes feels very adolescent in its outlook, which to be fair is the point as that's where the central character is trying to return to.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Was sad to finish it 20 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Destined for great things..or not? Loved this saga of friends who meet at summer camp in 1970s. We follow through their lives and what happens to their relationships with each other. Convincing characters set against privilege (for some) and high achievement. The well captured domesticity playing out against the late twentieth century,amongst other things, makes this a real page turner.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing! 18 Jan 2014
By Maya
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by an online book club on a blog. This story was full of twists and turns, and I really enjoyed it, it definitely keeps you interested all the way through.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An ironic title?
While I enjoyed this book and thought it well written I found the saga of a group of friends growing up against the backdrop of the late 20C not that interesting. Read more
Published 6 months ago by meg keir
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book
I enjoyed reading about the friendships formed at summer camp and what happened to the interesting characters through their lives. I felt very satisfied by the end of the book.
Published 6 months ago by Rosie
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely interesting!
I thought this a marvelous book and could not put it down. Reviews I had read suggested that it might be as good as Jonathan Franzen's " The Corrections" (a great favourite... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Penelope A. Rowland
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly Five Stars, but something missing.
This is high calibre stuff if you like claustrophobic personal relationship dramas. I do. And I like superb writers which Meg Wolitzer is and I love emotional entanglements of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Penelope Simpson
2.0 out of 5 stars The uninterstings
Starts off well enough as a coming of novel, but I lost interest halfway through. The novel is reduced to a series of events with little development of character or interaction or... Read more
Published 7 months ago by R. Mahon
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost a full house
This book was recommended to me as a good summer read, and I'm glad I read it. Although unfamiliar with the NYC scene, there was enough here for me to empathise with. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Sarah Crabtree
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