The Sunday New York Times book review sections always energizes me. It's the first section of the times I read every Sunday. Today features Jonathan Franzen's new book, Freedom.
I read The Corrections and thought it was up there right along with Beloved and The Poisonwood Bible. A great novel, in other words. I am in awe of Franzen. I heard him speak a couple years ago at Boston's Grub Street, The Muse and the Marketplace. He gave a thoughtful, even profound, speech.
There is a brouhaha (isn't that a wonderful word?) to do with Jennifer Weiner (on the best seller list today) and another woman writer over the fact that women writers do not make the cover of Time Magazine. Anyone who belongs to Sisters In Crime knows that women's books are reviewed less by major (and probably minor) newspapers and periodicals. Folks, this is hardly news and it seems a bit mean-spirited to point this out and (maybe) diminish Franzen's place in the sun.
I have no doubt that Franzen would be able to make first rate fiction out of it. He's no stranger to controversy what with the Oprah hoo-ha (another great word--why do words describing a dust up or tempest in a tea top event have a "ha" in them?) Ha ha!
Franzen is a brave writer, the kind of literary writer I would give me genre-gnawed eye teeth to be.
From all discussions, Freedom seems to be a significant literary event.
Hmmm. Maybe his publisher should have been hawking Freedom out at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday. Some of the people on the red and blue sides of the fence are portrayed in the book. Who of us will recognize our sorry selves?