He’s not the richest or the most famous. His characters don’t solve mysteries, have magical powers or live in the future…but he shows us the way we live now.
Lev Grossman wrote those words for the cover of the August 23, 2010 cover of Time magazine, calling Jonathan Franzen “the great American novelist.” In the midst of the great recession when most people were thinking about the economy, unemployment, and the sinking real estate market, America needed a hero and with the recent publication of Franzen’s fourth novel, Freedom, Time magazine found their guy but fell short of naming him “Man of the Year” for writing what most critics considered great literature. Read more
Only writing kept me from being swept into the dust heap of third grade, and for this reason I not only loved writing, I felt a strong sense of loyalty to it. I may have been shaky about tying my shoes or telling time, but I was sure about my career, and I consider this certainty the greatest gift of my life.
Brothers, brothers, and more brothers. I have six brothers that range in age from 30 to 52 whom I was reminded of when I read the book “The Hundred Brothers” by Donald Antrim. Published in 1997, I had never heard of the book until I read an essay in “Farther Away,” a collection of 21 essays by Jonathan Franzen. The essay, “The Corn King” which also serves as the introduction to “The Hundred Brothers” touts the book as “possibly the strangest novel ever published by an American” and yet, “it’s often hilarious, but there’s always a dangerous edge to the hilarity.” Read more
Jonathan Franzen, author and “Great American Novelist” (as declared by Time Magazine on its August 23, 2010 cover) has published a collection of 21 essays that fall generally into one of three broad categories: Perspectives on Life and the World, Thoughts on Writing, or Underappreciated Authors and Great Books. “Farther Away” offers both serious and humorous narratives that stand on their own but collectively provide a broad overview of the issues, authors and books that are important to Franzen as a writer and a human being. Read more