Culture Magazine

A Wholly Realized Novel of Five Friends Who Meet at a Summer...

By Shannawilson @shanna_wilson
A wholly realized novel of five friends who meet at a summer...

A wholly realized novel of five friends who meet at a summer arts camp, and then spend the rest of their lives intertwined with one another through decades of marriage, friendship, illness, and socio-economic differences. 

Meg Wolitzer likes to touch on the cultural sociology of a time period, from women’s lib in the 1970’s through to the AIDS crisis in the 80’s and 90’s. She has done this in previous novels, by peppering her characters lives with the background noise of Vietnam, career priorities, marriages unfolding, and the advent of various technologies and innovations that change our lives.

Her curiosity for how other people might feel about a situation, a conflict, a set of circumstances is relevant to the way she draws her characters into nuanced, layered composites, as in the case of Ethan, the Jiminy Cricket conscious of the group, morally sound, infinitely talented, who can’t figure out how to love his own son. And Jules, consistently feeling short of her own expectations for success, despite having built a family, and an accomplished mental health practice.

What’s interesting about The Interestings is that it captures the regularity of life’s progression in an absorbing, whole-hearted way. With love, envy, searching and regret all playing equal parts.

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