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
Our Far Left may hate religion and think we coddle Israel, our Far Right may hate illegal immigrants and think we coddle black people, and nobody may know how the economy is supposed to work now that our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, but the actual substance of our daily lives is total electronic distraction. We can’t face the real problems; we spent a trillion dollars not really solving a problem in Iraq that wasn’t really a problem; we can’t even agree on how to keep health care costs from devouring the GNP. What we can all agree to do instead is to deliver ourselves to the cool new media and technologies, to Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, and let them profit at our expense. 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