Book of the Month: May 2013


The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Why is it that some people’s youthful talents blossom into genius, or at least great success, while other people’s, just as promising at the outset, seem to flower early and fade away? This is just one of the many “interesting” questions that Meg Wolitzer’s expansive and shrewd new novel The Interestings ponders. Encompassing several decades and the lives of six characters, friends who meet as teens in the rarefied world of a summer camp for artistically gifted youth, the novel also examines with almost microscopic accuracy the ways that friendships that begin in youth unfold over the course of a lifetime.

Literary Affairs is pleased to add its voice to the din of critical praise that The Interestings has been receiving, and we think this ambitious, smart and yet deeply human novel will inspire great conversations for years to come. Read The Interestings this summer, and be prepared to meet and converse with the author at this fall’s Beverly Hills Literary Escape!


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.


Meg Wolitzer’s novels include The Interestings; The Uncoupling; The Ten-Year Nap; The Position; and The Wife. She is also the author of a novel for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman. Wolitzer’s short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. In September 2013, along with singer-songwriter Suzzy Roche, she will be a guest artist in the Princeton Atelier program at Princeton University.

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