Meg Wolitzer

NWPR Books
4:12 pm
Sat April 26, 2014

In 'Every Day Is For The Thief,' Cole Chronicles A City's Reality

Nnamdi Azikiwe street, a commercial street in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, 24 2005.

If you've ever received one of those emails claiming to be from someone in Nigeria, and telling you that millions of dollars await you, it may have been sent from an Internet cafe, the kind that proliferate in Lagos, Nigeria. There, under a sign warning patrons not to engage in fraud, people might sit typing emails that make outrageously fraudulent claims. Guards might be stationed in the cafe, and when they notice suspicious activity, they swoop down upon the offending patron, perhaps threatening him with torture and prison, and shaking him down for money.

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NWPR Books
2:21 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

After A Disaster In 'Family Life,' Relief Never Comes


Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 5:12 pm

Some things in life are just too painful to accept, and the same is true in novels. Family Life is the story of the Mishras, who immigrate to the U.S. in the late 1970s from India. Their departure is such a big deal that townspeople gather around just to have a look at their airplane tickets. Expectations of the life that awaits them start to build. "Americans clean themselves with paper, not water," says a classmate of the younger Mishra brother, Ajay, who narrates the novel. "In America, they say 'yeah' not yes," the boy goes on. To which Ajay replies, "That's nothing.

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NWPR Books
4:31 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Book News: Shaken, Stirred: Ian Fleming's Racy Love Letters To Be Sold

Ian Fleming, best-selling British author and creator of James Bond, is seen in this 1962 photo.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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NWPR Books
7:43 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Book News: Meg Wolitzer To Publish A YA Novel Inspired By Sylvia Plath

Meg Wolitzer's novel Belzhar is scheduled for release on Sept. 30.
Courtesy of Dutton Children's Books

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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NWPR Books
12:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Teens Rehearse For Adulthood In Wolitzer's 'Interestings'


Teen years are sort of a "rehearsal" for adulthood, author Meg Wolitzer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, and that's particularly true at the performing arts summer camp where her latest novel begins. It's 1974, and the main character, Jules, a newcomer to the camp, is invited into a circle of 15- and 16-year-olds who nickname themselves — with knowing irony — The Interestings.

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NWPR Books
10:17 am
Wed January 29, 2014

A New Look At George Eliot That's Surprisingly Approachable

English novelist George Eliot (1819 - 1880), pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, poses for a photograph.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Meg Wolitzer's latest novel is The Interestings.

I have to admit that the first time I tried to read Middlemarch by George Eliot, I ended up putting it aside after only 20 pages. My teenage self, feeding heavily at the time on Pearl S. Buck and Go Ask Alice, found the novel difficult and dry. But then one day, when I was older and more discerning and less antsy, I tried again, and this time I was swept in. This time, I guess I was ready.

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NWPR Books
4:10 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Gary Shteyngart's 'Little Failure' Is An Unambivalent Success

Cover Detail
Random House

Meg Wolitzer's most recent novel is The Interestings.

What's potentially more troubling than a memoirist out for revenge? One who's only out for truth. Gary Shteyngart's dazzling, highly enjoyable book is the story of his life — a story that he owns, along with all the details. Yet, as an only child who immigrated from Leningrad to Queens with his parents in 1979, with no brothers or sisters to provide narrative distraction, he not only provides an intimate look at himself, he also by necessity put his parents under a fairly strong magnifying lens.

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NWPR Books
6:24 am
Tue September 17, 2013

A Predictably Pynchonian Take On The Internet And Sept. 11

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 4:07 pm

I approached this review with a little bit of dread. How do you write about the iconic novelist Thomas Pynchon, whose books are strange and difficult things, and whose die-hard readers gather online to wax poetic, and use words like Pynchonian, Pynchonalia and Pynchonesque? They are just so into him, and often so articulate about their love. If you read the thoughtful and detailed writing by Pynchon devotees, they make a very persuasive case.

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The Two-Way
4:39 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Book News: 'The Great Gypsy'? School Reading List Is Error-Riddled

A student of the Barack Obama elementary school in Hempstead, N.Y. walks past a board displaying student essays on the president during the official name changing ceremony in 2009.
Mary Altaffer AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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NWPR Books
9:32 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Jeannette Walls' 'Silver Star' Lacks Spunk And Direction

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:11 am

"You've got spunk," Lou Grant says to Mary Richards on the very first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And then he adds, famously, "I hate spunk." The year is 1970, the same year in which Jeannette Walls set her new novel, The Silver Star. In the book, someone tells the 12-year-old narrator, Bean Holladay, that she's got spunk too. Maybe it's no coincidence. 1970, after all, was situated squarely in the middle of second-wave feminism. It was an era when women and girls were asserting themselves and finding their voices, which weren't always met with approval.

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