Freedom Reviewed

Jonathan Franzen's Freedom reviewed

While I have enjoyed Franzen's writing--the novels, the essays, the memoir, I have to say that The Corrections seemed to be obsessively self-involved and the whole to-do resulting from his reaction to being taken up by Oprah is one of those episodes any writer would rather forget.  His comments about "middle-brow" readers certainly raise the hackles and tell you a bit about what Mr. Franzen thinks of himself (rightly or wrongly).  His persistent and peculiar desire to be ranked in the legions of William Gaddis and his like (see the clever but obvious e-mails in The Corrections) bespeaks a man who has not come to terms with who he is as a writer.  I hope this book represents more of a relaxation into the talented and provocative writer who is hidden under all the apparent self-involvement.

This just in: Biblioklept offers us a Franzen Video against Videos.

I guess this is just the author's shtick.  Sometimes it's simply better to leave the exposition to the book.


  1. Steven - Franzen is quite an enigma, isn't he? I enjoyed Strong Motions, a charming and well executed story but found The Twenty-Seventh City and The Corrections clunky. I read both but regret my perseverance. His essays and memoir I could not complete, finger-nails down a blackboard levels of self-absorption.

    I have given up on Franzen. The comparisons with Updike, who's writing bores me, are understandable, but give Franzen too much credit.


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