Customer Review

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's extraordinarily good and I feel improved and changed by reading it, 8 Sep 2011
This review is from: Freedom (Paperback)
- if you enjoy searingly astute psychological portraits of other human beings, their entire families, their friends , their neighbours and their interlocking lives.
- If you enjoy a very generous smattering of blow-you-sideways in-their-entirety quotable sentences
it's very likely then that you will enjoy Freedom.

it's set during the Bush 43 era and is about the Berglund family and their two kids. But it delves into their pasts and I left it feeling that jonathan franzen is deeply intelligent and very astute about our very human frailties and foibles (however much we like to kid ourselves that we are so perfect and wise)
He manages to tell a very compelling story through the eyes of all the various participants with a rare skill in the use of language. He's also by turns very slyly witty and deeply humane in his view of how we conduct our lives.
This is novel-writing in a league of its own, whatever its faults and it has been vilified and attacked, it's wonderfully interesting, warm and just as importantly highly readable and enjoyable.

My own guess is that Franzen is an extremely hard working writer and he won't release a book into the world, until he has worked it and worked it to a thoroughly satisfying wholeness and unity.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Nov 2011 19:56:32 GMT
I read every day, both fiction and non-fiction, and I am an admirer of many American novelists ( Proulx, Roth, Ford, Smiley ) but I have to say that 'Freedom' was one of the most tedious books that I have come across. I say this with regret as it was a gift from my wife. I also found it deeply unpleasant in a way that I find difficult to articulate; perhaps prurient is the best I can come up with, or tacky.
Lawrence Forrester

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2011 18:48:32 GMT
CharlesA says:
I think Lawrence that what you are dscribing essentially come down to questions of taste. What it is that 'floats your boat' in fiction, say versus, what I might like. The authors you quote are all extremely worthy, Franzen can't have it all, expecting to add you to his list of admirers. Thanks for the comment

Posted on 28 May 2012 20:14:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 May 2012 20:17:00 BDT
Yellow Duck says:
The great things about Franzen is . . he's deeply intelligent, as you say. And no one does "tedious" as expertly as deeply intelligent Americans . . .
And he labours mightily at his writing "until he has worked it and worked it to a thoroughly satisfying wholeness and unity with all the texture and greyness of over-rolled pastry."
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