Monday, April 30, 2012


Why Jonathan Franzen?

Well, in my case, serendipity, size, slip-cover art, etc.

Months ago: I found two hardbound copies of FREEDOM: A Novel (Farrar, Straus Giroux, NYC. 2010) donated to the Santa Clara Senior Center, & its cover so intrigued me that I took both home. It’s that (Minnesota) lake; blue-jay on the cover;  heft (562pp), that make me wonder if he’s got something going inside. Well, he has, but for me it drags; I’ve lost interest at various points; just put it aside, notifying others on The Well  in the Books Franzen discussion group that I have. None of them have commented on that (yet.) 

Today: I’m reading "Voice of Moderation" a review by Craig Fehrman in the Sunday 30 APR 12 SF Chron. that begins: “Jonathan Franzen’s novels keep getting bigger and bigger. In 2010, FREEDOM did it again, - and added a TIME cover for its author and a thumbs-up from the president."Exactly my point. Such is the mainstream literary company I appear to be keeping at the moment. A BIG read by BIG names. Maybe a beach-book once it’s in a BIG paperback 

Inside: there’s the story of two friends, musicians, one of whom seems to be a take on Bob Dylan from Hibbing MN, who both sleep with Patty (originally from L.I.) the dominant figure of the book (so far.) Again, I’ve stalled out - this time at p.114 of 562). Somebody I tried to gave a copy to told me that a professor of his sees it as the current HOW WE LIVE NOW of Anthony Trollope. Now that’s a thot. In [flashback:] Gerald Warner Brace’s MFA Fiction class at B.U. (1968)  we were amazed that we found Trollope much more enjoyable reading than Joseph Conrad. Note: Franzen was a buddy of David Foster Wallace R.I.P.). Neither's enjoyable reading for me. Yet I slog on…

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