Freedom: A Novel
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And so? Most tellingly, these are not, for the most part, novels of the white, American, suburban, middle-class family. Also interesting is that there are no American women of the generation of Franzen et al.
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen - review
I would go into detail here if not for space constraints and those cat o' nine tail-wielding Barbara Kingsolver fans at my heels. So by all means, Time, put Franzen on the cover, but alongside Moody, Lethem and Eugenides, the four of them photo-shopped as Mount Rushmore. And that cloud overhead with a penumbra flashing at its edges?
That's the shadow of the inimitable and uncompromising DFW, who burned so very bright for too short a time. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.
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Reviewed by Zsuzsi Gartner.
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A Startling Début Novel Explores the Freedom of Being Multiple | The New Yorker
Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback globeandmail. So is Freedom. Great isn't a term much associated with American novels these days. That's partly because so many Americans have given up on big books.
krathacefid.tk Franzen hasn't. David Foster Wallace may have cashed in his chips, but Franzen isn't just hanging in, he's doubling down.
And so Freedom kicks against the pricks like a thing intent on being. Whatever else Freedom is, it's a great slab of a book. Check out the specs: pages small font, tight spacing. Check out the sweep: a large cast of intergenerational characters, a narrative that covers more than 30 years and engages issues ranging from the influence of Big Coal on our politics to the way sex can both create love and destroy it.
This is a book that acts as though people still had long conversations, still read long books. This makes Franzen a writer deeply at odds with his times. While his contemporaries content themselves with small books about nothing much or big books about comics, Franzen delivers the massive, old-school jams. It's not that Franzen's prose makes other writers seem untalented; it's that he makes them seem so lazy, so irrelevant, so lacking in the kind of chutzpah we once expected from our best authors.
Freedom doesn't name check War and Peace for nothing. It's making a claim for shelf space among the kind of books that the big dogs used to write.
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The kind they called important. The kind they called greats. Is all this talk of greatness hopelessly out of touch? But I hope not. I hope that books like Freedom will still play a role in the culture, still engage us in a serious conversation about the anachronistic things that matter most — our families, our lovers, our country, our planet. Freedom reminds us just how much these things matter, reminds us that they matter more than Scotch and jeans and Jake Gyllenhaal.