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The Interestings

af Meg Wolitzer

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3,0592084,484 (3.6)132
Fiction. Literature. 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.… (mere)
  1. 41
    Frihed af Jonathan Franzen (hairball)
    hairball: Similar tone.
  2. 20
    A Little Life af Hanya Yanagihara (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Another group of lifelong friends followed over the decades.
  3. 21
    The Big Chill [1983 film] af Lawrence Kasdan (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: A very similar theme and story line for the generation immediately preceding The Interestings.
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» Se også 132 omtaler

Engelsk (204)  Fransk (2)  Italiensk (1)  Piratisk (1)  Alle sprog (208)
Viser 1-5 af 208 (næste | vis alle)
I deeply wanted to like this, especially because Jeffrey Eugenides is a big fan, and I am a diehard Eugenides acolyte. For the first 30 pages, I was rapturous about the book. And, to be fair, I felt something at the end. But, in between.

SO MUCH PLOT.

Six young people spend a summer at camp together, and go on to live interconnected but wildly different lives. Some end in tragedy, some in muted success, others somewhere in between. Wollitzer's prose swirls in a chronologically confused but always comprehensible manner from the 1970s to the end of the 2000s. Her characters all inhabit comfortably bourgeois lives (theatre director, psychologist, and so on) and face bourgeois problems with their parents, marriages, and children. It's all reasonable. But...

SO MUCH PLOT.

To be fair, there are lots of people who love plot. They gag for it. The kind of people who devour daytime soap operas or read fantasy novels. There's nothing wrong with that. But I'm realising as I age that it's not for me. Plot is wonderful. It can be very engaging in, for instance, a classic mystery novel. But I have my threshold, and Wollitzer reached it before chapter 5. The novel rarely breaks for a moment of atmosphere, colour, or nuance. It's all meetings, conversations, and swift life changes.

Look, it is not a reviewer's job to disagree with what an author chose to do. It's to assess whether they did it successfully. And my problem with the torrential cascades of plot is simply that it deprives us of the most basic of literary adages: "show, don't tell". That's not always good advice, but here it may have been. A fortysomething man who was a stud in his teens has lost his charisma, but doesn't realise it. How do we know? Because the narrative voice tells us. And fair enough, too; there's no time for us to realise it from character or situation, because any given scene only takes one or two pages. There's too much plot, and not enough time. Characters fall in love, fall apart, have depressive episodes, deal with children with disabilities or other crises, soar to the height of their career unexpectedly, change jobs, lament their past life, unintentionally cause divorces, commit alleged rape, are weirdly groomed by older musicians, discover themselves, doubt themselves. Veering between timelines is a clever technique, but it just contributes to Wollitzer's need to keep updating us with chronologies and details that leave us panting with exhaustion. In other words:

SO MUCH PLOT.

Conversely, despite this being a chunky book with lots of plot, dialogue rarely packs a punch. Conversations are functional, people speak just like the rest of us do, and concerns are rarely elevated to literary levels. War and Peace it ain't. Moreso, there's an argument to be made that aside from Jules, the central character, no-one really changes that much. They remain types, and we never dig down.

While I felt an indescribable angst while reading the final chapter, in which unsurprisingly Jules meditates on life, loss, age, and change, I'm not even sure it was because of the author. It was just that inevitable yearning that we all feel when confronted with thoughts of our own past and that endless question of what we have gained with age, but what we have lost. It was empathy by default that I was feeling.

I continue to wish that I could have appreciated this more. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 21, 2024 |
3.5 stars really. Engaging and a time machine of the late 70s through the Great Recession but needed an editor to crisp up the stories. Biggest disappointment was the Goodman storyline which had such promise to be interesting and fizzled. ( )
  virtualars | Feb 3, 2024 |
I thought this story was really good and it gave me a lot to think about and a lot that I want to discuss (great book club book I suppose!) but I really did not enjoy Meg Wolitzer's style of writing at all.

I found the writing itself blunt and repetitive and in many situations she took things in a direction that was (in my opinion) far more crude than necessary to convey her point.

I liked the deep look at friendship, family, marriage and the reflections on life at middle age. I found the characters flawed (but as she says interesting) and mostly unlikable. I found some of their behavior bizarre but overall I found the story sad. I wonder how much of this really translates to real life. How many people are sad and disappointed in their life and how many are settling for the consequences of bad decisions made along the way. I guess most people do not lead exciting lives but it's more a question of whether they choose to be happy with the life they've made or if they choose to be envious and miserable about the life they don't have. Which reminds me, I think perhaps the biggest takeaway for me is the difference she makes between Jealousy and Envy. I'm not sure if I agree with her definition but it's an interesting thing to contemplate.

Overall, not what I'd call a pleasant book, but a good one and certainly worth reading. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
A rather dull meandering account of four people who never really grow up. They meet at a artsy summer camp when they're teens and unrealistically stay friends for the rest of their lives. Not just friends but best friends, even though they are so different socially and economically. I've never met anyone who maintained such close friendships their entire lives; it's not believable to me. Also, the characters don't really grow that much, not in my perception; Jonah perhaps, certainly not Ash.

The dialogue does not strike me as real, especially for the characters as middle aged or in family scenarios. The narrator goes on tangents that sound more like run-on sentences or rambles to fill in (ir)relevant background info on characters. At other times, information is repeated -- did the narrator think the reader would forget this information about a character? or did she just forget that it was already mentioned. Additionally, the habit of including information about the characters' future, and then going back later to explain it was ineffective. It was sometimes like hearing the punch line and then hearing the joke.

Above all, the characters are not INTERESTING. Perhaps the publisher pushed the title for marketing reasons, because it's not really reflective of the book, not in a title way.

Take a pass or read it on the beach.
  LDVoorberg | Dec 24, 2023 |
Brilliant. ( )
  feralcreature | Oct 31, 2023 |
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While riding on a train goin' west
I fell asleep for to take my rest
I dreamed a dream that made me sad
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had
~Bob Dylan, "Bob Dylan's Dream"

... to own a little talent ... was an awful, plaguing thing ... being only a little special meant you expected too much, most of the time.
~Mary Robison, "Yours"
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For my parents, who sent me there
And for Martha Parker, whom I met there
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On a warm night in early July of that long-evaporated year, the Interestings gathered for the very first time.  They were only fifteen, sixteen, and they began to call themselves the name with tentative irony.
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Irony was new to her and tasted oddly good, like previously unavailable summer fruit.
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Fiction. Literature. 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.

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