Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont
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.
Advance praise for Among the Ten Thousand Things
“This book is one of the funniest and most emotionally honest I’ve read in a long time.”—Jonathan Safran Foer
“Remarkable . . . Pierpont displays not only wisdom, but real tact as a writer, knowing how much to say, how much to leave out, how much to imply.”—Colm Tóibín
“Every page of this gorgeous novel contains such joys that you won’t want to stop reading for anything.”—J. Courtney Sullivan
“Poignant, surprising, and fiercely intelligent, Among the Ten Thousand Things is about the sturdiness and tremendous delicacy of the bonds between parents and children. Don’t miss this powerful debut.”—Megan Abbott
“A vicious and enchanting portrait of a fragmenting family that will leave you hungry for whatever Julia Pierpont does next.”—Courtney Maum
“Sharply observed and deeply illuminating, Among the Ten Thousand Things marks the beginning of what is sure to be a brilliant career.”—Elliott Holt
“Why aren’t there more first or second or seventh novels 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.”—Sean Wilsey
“Among the Ten Thousand Things succeeds in being both heartbreaking and funny: It’s a wry, sly look at a privileged New York upbringing and the ultimate loneliness at the heart of it.”—Mary Gordon
“The perennial theme of marital infidelity is given a brisk, insightful, and sophisticated turn in Pierpont’s impressive debut. . . . This novel leaves an indelible portrait of lives blown off course.