Among the Ten Thousand Things

Among the Ten Thousand Things

A Novel

Book - 2015
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER * For fans of Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Franzen, Lorrie Moore, and Curtis Sittenfeld, Among the Ten Thousand Things is a dazzling first novel, a portrait of an American family on the cusp of irrevocable change, and a startlingly original story of love and time lost.
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, humor, and beauty, Julia Pierpont has crafted a timeless, hugely enjoyable novel about the bonds of family life--their brittleness, and their resilience.
Praise for Among the Ten Thousand Things
"A luscious, smart summer novel . . . about a family blown apart and yet still painfully tethered together, written by a blazingly talented young author whose prose is so assured and whose observations are so precise and deeply felt that it's almost an insult to bring up her age." --Helen Schulman, The New York Times Book Review
"[An] excellent, insightful first novel . . . a gripping portrait of the disintegration of the Shanley family . . . Pierpont brings this family of four to life in sharply observed detail. . . . An acute observer of social comedy, Ms. Pierpont has a keen eye for the absurd." --Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal
"Pierpont's language is heart-stopping. . . . Technically, of course, this is a domestic drama. But between Pierpont's literary finesse and her captivating characters, it reads like a page-turner. [Grade:] A" -- Entertainment Weekly
"There are going to be as many ingenious twists and turns in this literary novel as there are in a top-notch work of suspense like Gone Girl ." --Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air

"Tender, delicately perceptive . . . Pierpont's voice is wry and confident, and she is a fine anthropologist of New York life." -- The Washington Post
"Bracing . . . Pierpont's killer ending reveals the long reach of the affair's consequences (sorry, no plot spoilers). Consider this a twisty, gripping story--that packs an emotional wallop." -- O: The Oprah Magazine
"A debut so honest and mature that it will resonate with even the most action-hungry readers--perhaps against reason. Her story is the one we'll be talking about this summer, and well beyond." --Meredith Turits, Vanity Fair
"Pierpont displays a precocious gift for language and observation. . . . She captures the minutiae of loneliness that pushes us away from each other and sometimes brings us back." -- San Francisco Chronicle
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780812995220
Characteristics: 322 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 06, 2017

Loved this book -

Dec 14, 2016

Quick read, with inexcusable behavior from both parties. Shows the long lasting effects your decisions and lack of any compassion for others have on yourself and your children. Wasn't one of my favorite reads. I've been reading the books off theSkimm reading recommendations so far they are 2 for 3. This one I put on the down list.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Jul 15, 2016

Deb and Jack find themselves in a crumbling marriage after their children discover a box containing print outs of emails between Jack and his mistress. Kay and Simon have to get used to the idea that their parents aren’t going to be together anymore, and that neither parent is who they thought they were. The second part of the book jumps forward in time to show the future of the characters, and the third part returns to the weeks right after Deb and Jack’s separation. While the timeline is a strange turn, the book does a good job of showing both the immediate and long-term effects of the end of Deb and Jack’s marriage.

Jan 02, 2016

I looked forward to reading this book with anticipation because of all the pre-release hype about it. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood for a book about a marriage falling apart because of the husband’s infidelities. Yes, it was interesting reading about the interactions between family members including the kids, and to see what a dysfunctional family he had grown up in, but I did not find it compelling reading.

Dec 03, 2015

If you are in a horrible marriage, and if you are suffering from depression and self pity, this book will commiserate with you. If might even make you feel less suicidal. Otherwise, you might want to wait for her next book.

Oct 11, 2015

Well executed structurally but filled with doomed, droll characters one has a difficult time caring anything about whatsoever. A time-waster.

Sep 14, 2015

This book read like a soap opera - simple plot, disgusting behaviour and unsurprising ending. Wish I hadn't bothered to finish it.

Aug 16, 2015

I expect a little puffery on a book flap, but this one takes misrepresentation to a new level. “Hugely enjoyable”? “Funny”? There was little to enjoy in the world of this novel and its unlikeable and unsympathetic characters. Partway through, a flash forward reveals everyone’s fates but fails to deliver the kind of emotional impact to the rest of the story that Pierpont was presumably aiming for. Although I stuck it out until the end in the hope she’d deliver, I wished instead I’d followed the instinct to bail on this dreary story within the first few pages.

Jun 16, 2015

This has been getting a lot of pre-pub buzz, and I understand why, even if it's not exactly to my taste. This is the portrait of a disintegrating marriage and its effect on the couple's children, and it's well written with lots of intriguing, complicated characters. There's a twist midway through ('twist' might not be quite the right word -- perhaps 'narrative decision' would be more accurate) that made the second half less enjoyable for me to read, even though I understood why the author took this step. For fans of contemporary literary fiction, I'd recommend checking this out, despite the fact that I wasn't totally sold on it -- I'm sure Pierpont is a voice we will be hearing a lot more from in the future.

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