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on 29 April 2011
Like many, I loved The Corrections, and waited eagerly for Freedom, which turned out to be a masterpiece. However, having read it in 2 days, I realised that I may have to wait another decade for more Franzen...so I decided to get one of his earlier novels. Strong Motion is interesting, and characteristic of Franzen's style and concerns, but it feels like an immature work, and it suffers from inconsistent pacing and really dislikeable main characters (as noted by other reviewers here). It also differs from his recent work by prominently featuring a political/environmental thriller plot, which sits uneasily alongside his typical dissection of American family life. It was a page turner, certainly, but is best approached as an entertaining genre piece for those wanting to read more Franzen.
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on 11 September 1997
Jonathan Franzen's novels so far, "Strong Motion" and "The Twenty-Seventh City," are notable because he breaks the conventions of workshopped-to-death books and blasts into the world of facts. His prose style isn't as graceful as Mark Helprin's, but he does inhabit the same world of fantastic plots, existential heros and man-made disasters. In "Strong Motion," Franzen depicts a man and woman struggling to discover the source of strange earthquakes in Boston as they fight against the materialism of society and their upbringings. Along the way, Franzen injects his usual host of bizarre characters, including a fundamentalist minister-cult leader who turns out to be just as much an outcast as the protagonists. Franzen also fills the book with history and odd facts; his short description of the life of a racoon in Boston is devastating; it's worth the price of the book. The lead character, Louis, is unappealing, as the Kirkus review suggests, which proves a drag on the novel.
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on 5 June 2008
I really enjoyed reading The Corrections but I was very disppointed with this one. The story is slow and the main character is uninteresting, boring and generally unlikeable. I could not get past 150 pages.
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on 15 January 2015
great service great book
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on 27 May 1999
The precedent "analysis" of Mr. Franzen's demeanor and state of mind aside, this book was a heck of a good read! The week I spent with "Strong Motion" saw several groggy days because at night I had trouble setting it aside to get some sleep. (Particularly in the latter half of the story as the stresses -- interpersonal as well as petrologic -- build). Franzen's prose is fluent, his imagery original yet accessible. Writers have much to learn from this work; readers have much to savor.
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on 2 February 2015
Good, but Franzen's Freedom and The Corrections are much better!
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on 28 October 2015
all good
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on 27 March 1998
No book is a 10. Possibly the best book about young adults ever written. The characters are amazing; beautiful and cynical and selfish and compassionate. A film of this book should never be made. Franzen's gift; an amazing avoidance of cliches and unrealistic dialogue. Again, a woman gets shot (see "27th" for more). Who is this young woman? Promiscuous? Martyr? Re-read it if you think either. She is ideal.
Want to impress a literate girl? Take "Infinite Jest" to a coffee shop and periodically laugh out loud. Want to read one of the best books of the century? Click "buy".
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