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Die Interessanten

von Meg Wolitzer

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
2,6571884,188 (3.61)128
1952 gründen Edie und Manny Wunderlich das künstlerisch-ambitionierte Sommercamp "Spirit-in-the-Wood". Gut 20 Jahre später begegnen sich hier 6 junge Menschen und gründen die Clique "Die Interessanten". Dazu gehört Julie, die sich später Jules nennt, deren Vater kürzlich verstorben ist. Sie fühlt sich den Geschwistern Goodman und Ash gesellschaftlich unterlegen. Dazu kommt der unscheinbare Ethan, die wohlproportionierte Cathy und Jonah, Sohn einer Folksängerin. Über die nächsten 40 Jahre wird nun das Leben dieser Menschen erzählt. Insbesondere von Jules, die eigentlich Schauspielerin werden wollte, aber später Psychotherapeutin wird und mit ihrem Mann Dennis nicht aus den kleinen Verhältnissen herauskommt. Und auch von Ethan, der eine grosse Künstlerkarriere macht und der mit seiner Frau Ash im Luxus lebt. Wolitzers Roman (vgl. "Saras Freunde", ID-A 38/99) ist von enormer Fülle. Man lernt Menschen kennen und erlebt alle Höhen und Tiefen mit ihnen. Gleichzeitig ist es ein Stück Zeitgeschichte der USA der letzten 40 Jahre. Grossartig und nicht nur Lesern von J. Franzen oder auch J. Eugenides empfohlen!… (mehr)
  1. 41
    Freiheit von Jonathan Franzen (hairball)
    hairball: Similar tone.
  2. 20
    Ein wenig Leben von Hanya Yanagihara (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Another group of lifelong friends followed over the decades.
  3. 21
    The Big Chill [1983 film] von Lawrence Kasdan (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: A very similar theme and story line for the generation immediately preceding The Interestings.
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Really fantastic writing, and made me think about talent and life and getting old. ( )
  readingjag | Nov 29, 2021 |
I read this while on vacation, which was a perfect time to hang out with a group of interesting characters as they grew from teens to middle-aged adults. Most people are not lucky enough to have friendships that last this long and it was a reminder for me to maintain ties to those people who know and share parts of my history. Lots to identify with and wonderfully written. ( )
  ClaireMulhern | Nov 17, 2021 |
A Lifetime of Friendship, Love, and Disappointment

Probably most of us of a certain age and background have never been to an away summer camp for an entire summer. What a magical experience it appears: to meet new people; to be seen differently; to see yourself differently; to see new possibilities for yourself; and to establish friendships that survive for a lifetime. So, from the outset, Meg Wolitzer's novel of friendship, love, and, as is often the case with life, disappointment, captivates from the beginning. From start to poignant conclusion, you'll find it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Succinctly, the novel maps the lives of adolescents who meet at the Spirit-in-the-Woods summer camp and dub themselves The Interestings, because that's how they see each other. The main characters who form the core of the novel, the people you'll find yourself caring most about, are the "poor" girl from Long Island, Julie Jacobson, who gets renamed Jules and discovers a new, unimagined potential for her life; Ash Wolf, a girl possessing ephemeral beauty and theatrical ambitions; and Ethan Figman, a gnome of a fellow from a difficult home that he copes with using an enormous talent for animation. Supporting characters who comprise the rest of the group include Ash's attractive but irresponsible brother Goodman; Cathy Kiplinger, a girl physically mature for her age who desires a dancing career; and Jonah Bay, whose mother Susannah is a famous but fading folk star. There are numerous others, parents, husbands, other friends, abusers, children, pretty much everything real life tosses your way from childhood to the doorstep of old age. But these are the three who get the most page time and the three you'll care most about, and who provide quite an emotional ending.

As you might guess, life does not work out as any of the three and the others had hoped in summer camp, not just professionally, but personally and emotionally, too. Life has a way of surprising us. Some surprises are good, though usually mixed with troubles. Other surprises are not so good, and some horrible. So it is for The Interestings, a long and winding road that doesn't always cooperate in fulfilling dreams, but that cannot destroy what holds Jules, Ash, and Ethan together: their friendship with and love for each other, not even, in the end, death.

This friendship among the three principals is not without some huge challenges of the sort that end not only friendships but marriages, too. If you've ever felt envy for a friend who has achieved something you yourself has wanted and striven for, you'll immediately identify with Jules. And, if you've loved unreturned, and nurtured that unrequited love over a lifetime, you'll understand Ethan's feelings, while also experiencing the ending more deeply.

Recommended as an engaging journey through interesting lives, and for Wolitzer's skillfulness in blending the story into the issues of the last quarter of the 20th century, and for making the lives of her people feel real.

If you're old enough, Wolitzer's novel, especially the opening in a summer camp, will immediately bring to mind the wonderful Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk. Wouk, now in his hundreds and still writing, is a master storyteller and Marjorie Morningstar is among his most popular novels. Like Jules, Marjorie Morgenstern aspires to a life in the theater. She falls madly for Noel Airman, pursues him, while maintaining a friendship with the man who really loves her, Wally Wronken. You might enjoy it.

( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
A Lifetime of Friendship, Love, and Disappointment

Probably most of us of a certain age and background have never been to an away summer camp for an entire summer. What a magical experience it appears: to meet new people; to be seen differently; to see yourself differently; to see new possibilities for yourself; and to establish friendships that survive for a lifetime. So, from the outset, Meg Wolitzer's novel of friendship, love, and, as is often the case with life, disappointment, captivates from the beginning. From start to poignant conclusion, you'll find it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Succinctly, the novel maps the lives of adolescents who meet at the Spirit-in-the-Woods summer camp and dub themselves The Interestings, because that's how they see each other. The main characters who form the core of the novel, the people you'll find yourself caring most about, are the "poor" girl from Long Island, Julie Jacobson, who gets renamed Jules and discovers a new, unimagined potential for her life; Ash Wolf, a girl possessing ephemeral beauty and theatrical ambitions; and Ethan Figman, a gnome of a fellow from a difficult home that he copes with using an enormous talent for animation. Supporting characters who comprise the rest of the group include Ash's attractive but irresponsible brother Goodman; Cathy Kiplinger, a girl physically mature for her age who desires a dancing career; and Jonah Bay, whose mother Susannah is a famous but fading folk star. There are numerous others, parents, husbands, other friends, abusers, children, pretty much everything real life tosses your way from childhood to the doorstep of old age. But these are the three who get the most page time and the three you'll care most about, and who provide quite an emotional ending.

As you might guess, life does not work out as any of the three and the others had hoped in summer camp, not just professionally, but personally and emotionally, too. Life has a way of surprising us. Some surprises are good, though usually mixed with troubles. Other surprises are not so good, and some horrible. So it is for The Interestings, a long and winding road that doesn't always cooperate in fulfilling dreams, but that cannot destroy what holds Jules, Ash, and Ethan together: their friendship with and love for each other, not even, in the end, death.

This friendship among the three principals is not without some huge challenges of the sort that end not only friendships but marriages, too. If you've ever felt envy for a friend who has achieved something you yourself has wanted and striven for, you'll immediately identify with Jules. And, if you've loved unreturned, and nurtured that unrequited love over a lifetime, you'll understand Ethan's feelings, while also experiencing the ending more deeply.

Recommended as an engaging journey through interesting lives, and for Wolitzer's skillfulness in blending the story into the issues of the last quarter of the 20th century, and for making the lives of her people feel real.

If you're old enough, Wolitzer's novel, especially the opening in a summer camp, will immediately bring to mind the wonderful Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk. Wouk, now in his hundreds and still writing, is a master storyteller and Marjorie Morningstar is among his most popular novels. Like Jules, Marjorie Morgenstern aspires to a life in the theater. She falls madly for Noel Airman, pursues him, while maintaining a friendship with the man who really loves her, Wally Wronken. You might enjoy it.

( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Loved it. On my way to becoming a Wollitzer completist. ( )
  sblock | Aug 16, 2021 |
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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.
Zitate
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Irony was new to her and tasted oddly good, like previously unavailable summer fruit.
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1952 gründen Edie und Manny Wunderlich das künstlerisch-ambitionierte Sommercamp "Spirit-in-the-Wood". Gut 20 Jahre später begegnen sich hier 6 junge Menschen und gründen die Clique "Die Interessanten". Dazu gehört Julie, die sich später Jules nennt, deren Vater kürzlich verstorben ist. Sie fühlt sich den Geschwistern Goodman und Ash gesellschaftlich unterlegen. Dazu kommt der unscheinbare Ethan, die wohlproportionierte Cathy und Jonah, Sohn einer Folksängerin. Über die nächsten 40 Jahre wird nun das Leben dieser Menschen erzählt. Insbesondere von Jules, die eigentlich Schauspielerin werden wollte, aber später Psychotherapeutin wird und mit ihrem Mann Dennis nicht aus den kleinen Verhältnissen herauskommt. Und auch von Ethan, der eine grosse Künstlerkarriere macht und der mit seiner Frau Ash im Luxus lebt. Wolitzers Roman (vgl. "Saras Freunde", ID-A 38/99) ist von enormer Fülle. Man lernt Menschen kennen und erlebt alle Höhen und Tiefen mit ihnen. Gleichzeitig ist es ein Stück Zeitgeschichte der USA der letzten 40 Jahre. Grossartig und nicht nur Lesern von J. Franzen oder auch J. Eugenides empfohlen!

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