Provocative and challenging, this is a novel to set minds and discussions spinning. A parcel posted with intent shatters the Shanley family into separate little pieces. Although each family member has a focus in this tale, it is with eleven year old Kay, suddenly thrust into a world beyond her knowledge, that the heartbreak is truly emphasised. Split into four parts, events do not necessarily run concurrently, which effectively fractures the story and highlights the confusion and despair of each family member. At times uncomfortable, at times even frustrating, Julia Pierpont ensures, with some intensely beautiful writing along the way, that this is not an easy comfortable journey to take. Likely to quarrel with your thoughts and clash with your feelings, ‘Among the Ten Thousand Things’ is a thought provoking and arresting read. ~ Liz Robinson
Jack Shanley is a well-known New York artist, charming and vain, who doesn't mean to plunge his family into crisis. His wife, Deb, gladly left behind a difficult career as a dancer to raise the two children she adores. In the ensuing years, she has mostly avoided coming face-to-face with the weaknesses of the man she married. But then an anonymously sent package arrives in the mail: a cardboard box containing sheaves of printed emails chronicling Jack's secret life. The package is addressed to Deb, but it's delivered into the wrong hands: her children's. With this vertiginous opening begins a debut that is by turns funny, wise, and indescribably moving. As the Shanleys spin apart into separate orbits, leaving New York in an attempt to regain their bearings, fifteen-year-old Simon feels the allure of adult freedoms for the first time, while eleven-year-old Kay wanders precariously into a grown-up world she can't possibly understand. Writing with extraordinary precision, humour, and beauty, Julia Pierpont has crafted a timeless, hugely enjoyable novel about the bonds of family life - their brittleness, and their resilience.
'This book is among the funniest, and most emotionally honest I've read in a long time.'
Jonathan Safran Foer
'Remarkable because of her full knowledge and understanding of middle-age and its discontents but also the lives and painful longings of teenagers.'
'[An] impressive debut ... Pierpont's keen observational gaze illuminates a strata of Manhattan society in which money and privilege abide alongside the gritty, drug-and-alcohol-fueled margins of social behaviour.'
Publishers Weekly, starred review
'An expertly crafted story of a family in crisis... Pierpont wields words like beautiful weapons. This short novel is a treat for fans of Jonathan Franzen, Jami Attenberg and Emma Straub, and shows off an exciting new voice on the literary landscape.'
'The characters' rich emotional lives... propel the story forward ... much of its lingering force comes from Pierpont's sharp-witted detailing of human absurdity. A quietly wrenching family portrait.'
'Julia Pierpont's voice is as indestructible as her characters. Among the Ten Thousand Things brings the news and brings it in technicolor - here is the real modern family.'
Darin Straus, author of Half a Life
'Why aren't there more first or second or seventh books like Among the Ten Thousand Things? That's what I asked myself as I read--actually, devoured - Julia Pierpont's debut. My conclusion: very few writers, at any point in their lives, can produce prose of the sort you'll find here. Among the many pleasures of this novel is an almost coincidental-seeming recurrence of thrilling sentences and observations that feel deeply right-and-new, and, taken together, provide profound reassurance, in this super-saturated era, that books matter.'
Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of it All and More Curious
Publication date: 06/08/2015
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
|Publication date:||6th August 2015|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Julia Pierpont is a graduate of the NYU Creative Writing Program, where she received the Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship, as well as the Stein Fellowship. Born and raised in Manhattan, she works at The New Yorker. Author photo © Shiva RouhaniMore About Julia Pierpont