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MEslaymaker

MEslaymaker

 

 

Freedom - Jonathan Franzen I'm chiming in on this one because when a book makes it this big for allegedly literary reasons and you think it's as bad as I do, I think you should say so (assuming you're a serious reader, and I am).

Before proceeding I'll note that I don't always agree with critic B. R. Myers. I don't agree with his takes on Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx. I consider McCarthy and Proulx masters of language and storytelling.

BUT nothing I could say to explain why I don't like this book could top the following bits from B.R. MYERS's October 2010 review in "THE ATLANTIC":

"A good storyteller can interest us in just about anybody, as Madame Bovary demonstrates, but . . . the language a writer uses to create a world is that world, and Franzen's strenuously contemporary and therefore juvenile language is a world in which nothing important can happen.

"For a while one wonders whether our memoirist, like Holden Caulfield, is relying on the buffering effect of trite language to get through a painful story. Yet only a very humdrum marital malaise comes to light . . . One keeps waiting for something that will make these flat characters develop in some way, and finally the Nice Man (Walter)is struck by a great blow of fate. But rather than write his way through it, Franzen suspends things just before the moment of impact, then resumes Walter's story six years later, updating us with the glib aside that the event in question had effectively ended his life . . . this stratagem is clumsy enough to make one want to laugh for the first time in the book . . . Perhaps he (Franzen)can learn a lesson from "Freedom": write a long book about mediocrities, and in their language to boot, and they will drag you down to their level."