Freedom from Freedom--Franzen Reconsidered

Freedom reviewed

Any book that has been afflicted with as much hype and froth as Mr. Franzen's must necessarily pay the price in backlash.  I got it from the library, where I note that its sequestration from the public was of impossibly short duration for so meaningful and significant a novel.  Surely a book so widely and consistently lauded must be out of the hands of the browsing public for months--this didn't last the duration of the most recent Preston and Cloud.

The observation excerpted below is also my view of much of Franzen's work:

The odd thing about Franzen's writing is that it is, to begin with, so compulsively readable. I found myself chomping through the early pages of Freedom, eager for more and more. Sadly though, despite the initial excitement, quite quickly I began to feel sated, as if I'd been eating hot chips or sweets: at first, they seem gorgeous and I can't get enough; I gobble them down in handfuls, stuffing them into my mouth in a greedy frenzy; before long though, it begins to dawn on me that they aren't really very satisfying; not long after, it occurs to me that they aren't even particularly nice.


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