The Corrections

The Corrections Description:

The Lamberts Enid and Alfred and their three grown up children are a troubled family living in a troubled age Alfred is ill and as his condition worsens the whole family must face the failures secrets and long buried hurts that haunt them if they are to make the corrections that each desperately needs Stretching from the Midwest in the mid century to Wall Street and Eastern Europe in the age of globalised greed The Corrections brings an old time America of freight trains and civic duty into wild collision with the era of home surveillance hands off parenting do it yourself mental healthcare and New Economy millionaires It announces Jonathan Franzen as one of the most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul

Rating: 3.41 out of 5

Freedom

Freedom Description:

Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St Paul the gentrifiers the hands on parents the avant garde of the Whole Foods generation Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter s dreams Together with Walter environmental lawyer commuter cyclist total family man she was doing her small part to build a better world br br But now in the new millennium the Berglunds have become a mystery Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal What exactly is Richard Katz outr rocker and Walter s college best friend and rival still doing in the picture Most of all what has happened to Patty Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become a very different kind of neighbor an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street s attentive eyes br br In his first novel since i The Corrections i Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty the thrills of teenage lust the shaken compromises of middle age the wages of suburban sprawl the heavy weight of empire In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom s characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time

Rating: 3.60 out of 5

Purity

Purity Description:

A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of Freedom br br Young Pip Tyler doesn t know who she is She knows that her real name is Purity that she s saddled with in student debt that she s squatting with anarchists in Oakland and that her relationship with her mother her only family is hazardous But she doesn t have a clue who her father is why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name or how she ll ever have a normal life br br Enter the Germans A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world including Pip hopes the secret of her origins TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall Now on the lam in Bolivia Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn t understand and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong br br Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism extreme fidelity and murder The author of The Corrections and Freedom has imagined a world of vividly original characters Californians and East Germans good parents and bad parents journalists and leakers and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes Purity is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time

Rating: 3.50 out of 5

How to Be Alone

How to Be Alone Description:

b From the National Book Award winning author of i The Corrections i a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest toughest and most entertaining social critics b br br While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the sex advice industry to the way a supermax prison works each one wrestles with the essential themes of Franzen s writing the erosion of civil life and private dignity and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern imperial America Reprinted here for the first time is Franzen s controversial l investigation of the fate of the American novel in what became known as the Harper s essay as well as his award winning narrative of his father s struggle with Alzheimer s disease and a rueful account of his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author

Rating: 3.79 out of 5

The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History

The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History Description:

Jonathan Franzen arrived late and last in a family of boys in Webster Groves Missouri i The Discomfort Zone i is his intimate memoir of his growth from a small and fundamentally ridiculous person through an adolescence both excruciating and strangely happy into an adult with embarrassing and unexpected passions It s also a portrait of a middle class family weathering the turbulence of the s and a vivid personal history of the decades in which America turned away from its midcentury idealism and became a more polarized society br br The story Franzen tells here draws on elements as varied as the explosive dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the s the effects of Kafka s fiction on his protracted quest to lose his virginity the elaborate pranks that he and his friends orchestrated from the roof of his high school his self inflicted travails in selling his mother s house after her death and the web of connections between his all consuming marriage the problem of global warming and the life lessons to be learned in watching birds br br These chapters of a Midwestern youth and a New York adulthood are warmed by the same combination of comic scrutiny and unqualified affection that characterize Franzen s fiction but here the main character is the author himself Sparkling daring arrestingly honest i The Discomfort Zone i narrates the formation of a unique mind and heart in the crucible of an everyday American family br

Rating: 3.48 out of 5

Strong Motion

Strong Motion Description:

The critically acclaimed second novel from the author of The Corrections Strong Motion is the brilliant bold second novel from the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of The Corrections and Freedom Louis Holland arrives in Boston in a spring of strange happenings earthquakes strike the city and the first one kills his grandmother During a bitter feud over the inheritance Louis falls in love with Renee Seitchek a passionate and brilliant seismologist whose discoveries about the origin of the earthquakes complicate everything Potent and vivid Strong Motion is a complex story of change from the forceful imagination of Jonathan Franzen

Rating: 3.26 out of 5

The Twenty-Seventh City

The Twenty-Seventh City Description:

St Louis Missouri is a quietly dying river city until it hires a new police chief a charismatic young woman from Bombay India named S Jammu No sooner has Jammu been installed though than the city s leading citizens become embroiled in an all pervasive political conspiracy br A classic of contemporary fiction i The Twenty Seventh City i shows us an ordinary metropolis turned inside out and the American Dream unraveling into terror and dark comedy

Rating: 3.76 out of 5

Farther Away

Farther Away Description:

Jonathan Franzen s i Freedom i was the runaway most discussed novel of an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the twenty first century In i The New York Times Book Review i Sam Tanenhaus proclaimed it a masterpiece of American fiction and lauded its illumination through the steady radiance of its author s profound moral intelligence of the world we thought we knew br br In i Farther Away i which gathers together essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years Franzen returns with renewed vigor to the themes both human and literary that have long preoccupied him Whether recounting his violent encounter with bird poachers in Cyprus examining his mixed feelings about the suicide of his friend and rival David Foster Wallace or offering a moving and witty take on the ways that technology has changed how people express their love these pieces deliver on Franzen s implicit promise to conceal nothing On a trip to China to see first hand the environmental devastation there he doesn t omit mention of his excitement and awe at the pace of China s economic development the trip becomes a journey out of his own prejudice and moral condemnation Taken together these essays trace the progress of unique and mature mind wrestling with itself with literature and with some of the most important issues of our day i Farther Away i is remarkable provocative and necessary

Rating: 3.54 out of 5

Selected Essays from: How to be Alone

Selected Essays from: How to be Alone Description:

Selected Essays from How to be Alone br br Essays included br br My Father s Brain br Imperial Bedroom br Why Bother The Harper s Essay br Scavenging br Meet Me in St Louis

Rating: 3.56 out of 5

The Best American Essays 2016

The Best American Essays 2016 Description:

A true essay is something hazarded not definitive not authoritative something ventured on the basis of the author s personal experience and subjectivity writes guest editor Jonathan Franzen in his introduction However his main criterion for selecting i The Best American Essays i was in a word risk Whether the risks involved championing an unpopular opinion the possibility of ruining a professional career or irrevocably offending family for Franzen the writer has to be like the firefighter whose job while everyone else is fleeing the flames is to run straight into them br br i The Best American Essays i includes ALEXANDER CHEE PAUL CRENSHAW JAQUIRA D AZ LAURA KIPNIS AMITAVA KUMAR SEBASTIAN JUNGER br JOYCE CAROL OATES OLIVER SACKS THOMAS CHATTERTON WILLIAMS i and others i br br JONATHAN FRANZEN guest editor is the author of five novels most recently i Purity i and five works of nonfiction and translation including i Farther Away i and i The Kraus Project i He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters the German Akademie der K nste and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres br br ROBERT ATWAN the series editor of i The Best American Essays i since its inception in has published on a wide variety of subjects from American advertising and early photography to ancient divination and Shakespeare His criticism essays humor poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous periodicals nationwide

Rating: 3.25 out of 5