Emotions. So many emotions. That’s what Julia Pierpont’s much-touted debut novel, Among the Ten Thousand Things, is bound to stir up. After all, you’ll feel for everyone involved in Pierpont’s intricately woven story of one family’s unraveling in the wake of infidelity. (The discovery of the affair opens the book, and trust us, it’s a doozy.)
There’s 11-year-old Kay, who writes raunchy Seinfeld fan fiction in her spare time. Then there’s her teenage brother, Simon, who, like most boys his age, is struggling to make it through each angsty day unnoticed and unscathed. There’s the mom, Deb, an ex-dancer, who maybe should have seen it coming. And finally there’s Jack--celebrated artist, tortured soul, complete narcissist--whom you still somehow end up not 100 percent hating. (OK, you may hate him a little.)
Sharp and insightful, Among the Ten Thousand Things is a heartbreaking and often very funny portrait of marriage, parenthood and obligation. The story deftly jumps back and forth in time and perspective, and as you delve deeper into each character’s inner workings, you come to empathize with everyone, even if you don’t always agree with their choices.