American author Meg Wolitzer discusses her novel The Interestings, which follows a group of friends from teenage years through to middle age and marriage and children.
Aged 15, the group first meet at on a warm night at Spirit in the Woods summer camp in 1974. They drink, smoke pot and share their dreams and vow always to be interesting. Although not strictly an autobiographical novel, the idea for the book came from Meg's own experience as a teenager at summer camp in the same era and how the experience can give young people the opportunity to re-invent themselves. What links the six teenagers in The Interestings is their creativity – but how many of them will be successful in their chosen fields?
Decades later, aspiring actress Jules has resigned herself to a more practical occupation, Cathy has stopped dancing, Jonah has laid down his guitar and Goodman (a bit of a misnomer) has disappeared. Only the animator Ethan and theatre director Ash, now married, have remained true to their adolescent dreams and have become shockingly successful.
As the group's fortunes tilt, their friendships are put under strain and Meg Wolitzer explains to Bookclub how the strain of envy and disappointment drives the story.
Meg Wolitzer has been enjoying great success this autumn with the film version of her novel about a Nobel prize winning writer, The Wife.
Presented by James Naughtie and recorded with a group of invited readers.
Presenter : James Naughtie
Interviewed guest : Meg Wolitzer
Producer : Dymphna Flynn
January 2019's Bookclub choice : The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (2014)