Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel, The Interestings, is both a coming-of-age and coming-of-middle-age story. Six teenagers meet at a performing arts camp in the Berkshires — the kind of place where kids put on Beckett plays — and become lifelong friends. It’s the summer of 1974, and the friends are united in the belief that they are destined for interesting lives as an actor, a director, a musician, and an animator.
One could mock their presumption, but Wolitzer loves the adolescent world of “endless possibility,” when all options feel open. As we grow older, she says, “our lives get smaller.” The problem for Wolitzer’s group of friends is that as some of their talents fade, others flourish, and by middle age, their fortunes have diverged.
Wolitzer’s talent blossomed young — her first book was published when she was still in college — and she has remained prolific. She says that she is proud of hanging on. People don’t read fiction like they used to, and being a novelist has a bit of a specialty feeling to it. Kurt compared the craft to those who make wooden boats. Wolitzer agrees. Writing fiction is like boat building, “or scrimshaw.”
Bonus Track: Meg Wolitzer's 3 for 360