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 . . . by a blazingly talented young author."—The New York Times Book Review
"This book is one of the funniest, and most emotionally honest, I've read in a long time."—Jonathan Safran Foer
"Obsessively compelling . . . emotionally sophisticated . . . Among the Ten Thousand Things rises above [other novels] for its imagined structure, sentence-by-sentence punch, and pure humanity."—Vanity Fair
"Gripping . . . 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."—The Wall Street Journal
"Pierpont's language is heart-stopping. . . . Between Pierpont's literary finesse and her captivating characters, [Among the Ten Thousand Things] reads like a page-turner."—Entertainment Weekly (grade: A)
"A twisty, gripping story—that packs an emotional wallop."—O: The Oprah Magazine
"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
"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
From the Hardcover edition.