The Interestings: A Novel
Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 481 pages
Kindle Edition $8.99, Amazon Hardcover $15.79, Amazon Paperback $13.44
The Interestings is the story of a group of friends over the span of decades.
Jules is a lower-middle class high school girl who has the opportunity to attend an arts summer camp on scholarship where most of the attendees are upper class New York kids. She is welcomed into the group and those relationships continue throughout their lives.
Wolitzer does some interesting footwork with her chronology. The book begins with their high school summers at the Spirit in-the-woods arts camp in the mid-1970’s. She then jumps ahead to 2008 where we see what their lives have become. But she quickly takes us back to their college years and then chronologically moves us ahead through weddings, careers, children, and deaths. She takes us through and past 9-11, quickly passes by 2008, and closes the story in 2010 with the friends in middle age and their children through college. All of this is done seamlessly and deftly.
Wolitzer is a fine storyteller. I found the characters believable and I cared about what happened to them. I was a bit annoyed with the fate that she dished out on a couple of the characters, but what she did was consistent with the storyline and character development. I certainly can’t fault her.
If you are looking for an engrossing contemporary novel based on character development The Interestings is a worthwhile choice.
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An article which stated that “being pulled into the world of a gripping novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least five days after reading” was making the rounds on Facebook in January. Since I have been reading strictly nonfiction for quite some time now I paid attention.
The last time I read a novel was when I had a physical Kindle. Being an iPad user with its Kindle app since August 2011, it’s been at least two and a half years. It’s probably been longer than that, because if I recall correctly the last several books I read on my physical Kindle were nonfiction.
I’ve had a few novels among my Kindle samples for quite some time, but when it came time to read the next book, I kept selecting nonfiction. That has changed. I recently saw a reference to The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch. Perhaps that article had some influence on me, but what really grabbed me was that the setting of the novel is the campus of Oxford University.
So once again I’m reading a novel. I’m enjoying it so far.
We’ll see if this creates a new pattern.