Franzen’s Freedom


I liked it well enough, despite its cover and its title. I mean: I really, really liked it, though I’d like also for Franzen to write his next novel about something other than a midwestern family. Sure, his book expands to somewhat of a national/global scale at one point, but this one felt at times stuck in the rut of its characters. I don’t know how The Corrections avoided this, but maybe it was in its far superior title.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over this title.

Here’s J. Picoult’s complaint about the media hullabaloo descending on this book:

I think the New York Times reviews overall tend to overlook popular fiction, whether you’re a man, woman, white, black, purple or pink.

Which brings to mind that line from Lorrie Moore’s excellent (and a superior post-9/11 novel than Franzen’s) A Gate at the Stairs, which I don’t have in front of me right now, and so I have to paraphrase:

“Those people who claim they don’t care about a person whether he’s black, white, green, or purple. As if black were a nonsense color like green or purple.”