Author(s): Julia Pierpont
Fiction | No Category
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.' -- Colm Toibin '[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.' Library Journal '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.' Kirkus '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 'Among the Ten Thousand Things is a story of family and shattered perceptions that is sharply observed and deeply illuminating. Julia Pierpont's debut is a gem that has been cut, precisely, to catch and refract the light. This novel marks the beginning of what is sure to be a brilliant career.' -- Elliott Holt, author of You Are One of Them 'Pierpont is wildly talented. She writes with astonishing humor, insight and verve. Every page of this gorgeous novel contains such joys that you won't want to stop reading for anything.' -- J. Courtney Sullivan, author of the bestsellers Maine and The Engagements 'Among the Ten Thousand Things succeeds in being both heartbreaking and funny: a wry, sly look at a privileged New York upbringing and the ultimate loneliness at the heart of it.' -- Mary Gordon, author of The Shadow Man and Final Payments 'Poignant, surprising and fiercely intelligent, Julia Pierpont's Among the Ten Thousand Things is about a family in crisis, and so much more. It's about the sturdiness and tremendous delicacy of the bonds between parents and children. It's about how terrifyingly easy it is for a marriage to self-combust. And it's about the pangs and sharp beauty of family life. Don't miss this powerful debut.' -- Megan Abbott, author of The Fever and Dare Me 'A vicious and enchanting portrait of a fragmenting family that will leave you hungry for whatever Pierpoint does next.' -- Courtney Maum, author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You 'Her debut...fits into the mould of the enduring dysfunctional-American-family novel that's served the likes of Jonathan Franzen so well' EasyJet Traveller '[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.' New York Times Book Review '[A] page-turner... heart-stopping.' Entertainment Weekly 'Delicately perceptive...a fine anthropologist of New York life.' Washington Post
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.