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.
It has been a few weeks, and several books since I finished The Interestings. A lot of the more intricate details have been lost, I can't recall character names without looking them up...but the plot and general feelings about the book has been left intact.
This novel is one of those that you cannot read unless you allow yourself to become fully immersed in the story. With six major characters, it's easy to lose track of everything unless you are paying close attention.
Reading this was both heartbreaking and funny. Jules, the protagonist through much of the novel has a quiet wittiness which I fully enjoyed...in a book full of characters that while "interesting" and friendly enough, Jules was the character that was the easiest to relate to.
I wish I could go more into depth with this review, but I do try to keep my reviews spoiler free as much as I can so I'll end here.