Critically lauded and an Oprah Book Club choice, Jonathan Franzen's third novel The Corrections
is already a huge success in the US, and it's none too difficult to see why. Whereas his earlier novels, The Twenty-Seventh City
could be seen as single-issue works (on inner city decay and abortion respectively), the long-awaited The Corrections
is far more grandiose in its ambition and its scale.
Framed by matriarch Enid Lambert's attempts to gather her three grown children back home for Christmas, The Corrections examines their lives: Enid's husband Alfred, sinking into dementia, her sons banker Gary and writer Chip (now in Lithuania) and daughter Denise, a chef, busily re-evaluating her sexual identity.
With these characters, Franzen gives himself plenty of room to examine the foibles, fears, hopes, anxieties and neuroses of 21st-century American life and the mad Lithuanian subplot provides some real laughs. But most striking and surprising about The Corrections is its reassuring normality. Despite all its well-signposted dysfunction, this remains at heart a big sprawling family saga, with all the security that implies. The book closes with Enid noting "that current events in general were more muted or insipid nowadays than they'd been in her youth" during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Now, "disasters of this magnitude no longer seemed to befall the United States". It's a line Franzen couldn't have written after 11 September, 2001--and, perhaps because of its now forgotten confidence, The Corrections is a book that readers will take to their hearts.--Alan Stewart
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘A book which is funny, moving, generous, brutal and intelligent, and which poses the ultimate question, what life is for – and that is as much as anyone could ask.' Blake Morrison, GUARDIAN
'For anyone who has ever found themselves guiltily yearning for an Anne Tyler while in the middle of an Updike or Wolfe. The Lamberts are utterly believable, and once they have all told their stories you can't help but sympathise with them. Be prepared to be moved.' Laurence Phelan, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
'Compelling. A pleasure from beginning to end. Franzen, in one leap, has put himself into the league of Updike & Roth. That's why there is so much excitement about it.' David Sexton, EVENING STANDARD
'A novel of outstanding sympathy, wit, moral intelligence and pathos, a family saga told with stylistic brio and psychological and political insight. No British novelist is currently writing at this pitch.' Jeremy Treglowen, FINANCIAL TIMES
'Impossible to dislike, an unpretentious page-turner.' Zadie Smith, GUARDIAN Books of the Year