Buzz has been building for Julia Pierpont’s debut novel Among the Ten Thousand Things (Random House; Random House Audio; OverDrive Sample). Called by Vanity Fair “one of the most anticipated books of the year” based on the manuscript being sold at auction for an estimated six figures in 2012, it carries a cover blurb by Jonathan Safran Foer, “This book is among the funniest, and most emotionally honest, I’ve read in a long time.”
Libraries ordered conservatively, holds are building and many are going back for reorders.
We covered the book last week, pointing out Entertainment Weekly’s praise, which has since been followed by attention from some other heavy hitters.
Described in the upcoming New York Times Sunday Book Review as “a novel about a family blown apart and yet still painfully tethered together” by Helen Schulman whose own novels have also explored modern marital relationships, the review begins, “In some cases, the key to the success of a longstanding marriage may not be in its well-kept secrets but in its tacit agreements.” She calls the author “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,” which she then does in the very next sentence, “At 28, Pierpont has a preternatural understanding of the vulnerabilities of middle age and the vicissitudes of a long marriage, the habits of being.”
She also credits the author with creating an “an audacious structural move … about half of the way through, when she jumps ahead into the future, leaving no questions about the resolution of this story unanswered. It’s an injection of omniscience reminiscent of Jennifer Egan or Milan Kundera, and it makes the unfolding of what follows more riveting in a slow-mo, rubbernecking way.”
It is the top pick on Oprah’s “Dazzling New Beach Reads” list, called a “twisty, gripping story … [that] packs an emotional wallop.”
The Huffington Post’s “Bottom Line” puts Pierpont in the same company as Virginia Woolf: “Though comparisons to Virginia Woolf will necessarily place most contemporary novels in the shadow of her genius, Among the Ten Thousand Things carries through the late author’s spirit, if not her revolutionary style.”
The Vanity Fair story mentioned above all but anoints Pierpont’s book as the summer’s have-to-read, saying it is “a big, beating heart that soars,” summarizing its draw in glowing terms:
Against a summer smorgasbord of stories about syrupy flings or crime dramas, Among the Ten Thousand Things rises above for its imagined structure, sentence-by-sentence punch, and pure humanity . . . Pierpont has written 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.