One of our favourite books of 2013 has been Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings. The story of a group of friends’ who meet at summer camp and the adventures they have after they leave, is a labyrinthine tale of friendship, written with a finely tuned eye for detail, emotion and a wicked sense of humour. We chatted to its author about plotting through the decades, the changing face of friendship and the TV adaptation.
Why I Wrote About Summer Camp… "I had been to one very similar to Spirit In The Woods (the summer camp in the book) when I fifteen and it was a very important experience for me. For many years, I had dreams about returning to my own summer camp, but always in the dream something was a little wrong--the camp was kind of barren and dirty, or the wrong people were there. These were frustrating dreams, but they made me aware of the power of that early experience of having been there when it felt idyllic. Are the characters real? No they are wholly invented people. Although I did occasionally borrow physical attributes here and there.”
Why I Wanted To Write About Happens When Childhood Dreams Are Thwarted…”I do know people who were very talented when they were young and who ended up in very different professions from the ones everyone expected them to be in. Life isn’t a straight road, and talent isn’t a guarantee of success.”
Why I Wrote A Character Who Peaked When He Was Young…”Goodman (Wolf) is someone who, for various reasons, was never able to grow and mature. There is something sad in the idea of a person remaining static before adulthood; and while Goodman, of course, can be described in other, more disturbing ways than sad, I certainly wanted to show him stuck in time.”
(Deborah Copaken Kogan)
Why I Wrote About Friends Getting Divided By Class…”People's lives are take very different directions, and money and class can change everything. We think when we're young that "who we are" never changes, but of course there are various powerful forces that shape our lives, and can serve to bring people together or move them apart irrevocably.”
Writing About Different Decades Was Fun…”I looked forward to writing about the changing eras. Particularly the 80s, and AIDS, which seems to me to be a time that many young people don't really know all that much about--what it felt like, say, to be in New York City at the height of the crisis, how terrified everyone was, and how angry at Reagan. I am a fiction writer and I like making things up, but this is the stuff that you need to get historically right, so it was important to me that the details be exact.“
A TV Adaptation Is A Possibility…”There is some talk about a television series right now, but it's early days... I would love to watch that show.”