In 1974 at a summer camp for the arts, six teenagers meet, form a group, and dub themselves “The Interestings.” The group is composed of Julie Jacobson, who thinks she’d like to be a comic actress; Jonah Bay, son of a renowned folksinger, who sees himself following his mother’s path; clumsy, homely Ethan Figman, an outstandingly talented animator; Cathy Kiplinger, who dreams of becoming a dancer; ethereally lovely Ash Wolfe, an aspiring actress and playwright; and Ash’s charming brother Goodman, who has vague ambitions about architecture.
This hefty novel follows these six individuals for nearly 40 years, through tragedy and triumph, marriage and children, professional success and failure, illness and death. Some of these people become rich and famous, some find unexpected twists in their lives; two become alienated from the others for decades. But over the course of the novel Wolitzer shows us that these six people aren’t interesting for the reasons they thought—their artistic inclinations, their talents, their money; they are interesting for the same reasons that everyone is interesting when her story is fully told. A startlingly precise documenter of behavior, Meg Wolitzer is a deeply humane writer, and The Interestings is more than just another book; it’s one of those books you never want to end.