The Interestings (2013) by bestselling author Meg Wolitzer, is not just another recent novel set in New York City. The story begins during the summer of 1974, when six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts in upstate New York embark on a lifelong friendship while they pursue their talents and dreams. They include Julie, who is transformed into Jules when she joins a clique from Manhattan, her best friend Ash, Ash’s older brother Goodman, Cathy, Jonah, and Ethan.
Julie is a comic actress who moves on to a more practical profession as a therapist, and marries a low-key medical technician. The receipt of a Christmas letter in 2009 precipitates a look back at how lives and friendships have changed since summer camp. Ash and Ethan marry, and continue to find creative and financial success. Talented musician Jonah gives up music and becomes an engineer.
The members of the group connect, diverge, and reunite throughout their lives as their story continues into middle age. As with Wolitzer’s other work, she explores human relationships. The impact of success, failure, position in society, money, and talent on how we live our lives and connect with others, and how these influences shift throughout life and friendship reflects the spirit of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.