The new book of articles and opinion from Jonathan Franzen, author of 'Freedom' and 'The Corrections'. Jonathan Franzen's 'Freedom' was the runaway most-discussed novel of 2010, an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the 21st century. Now, a new collection of Franzen's non-fiction brings fresh demonstrations of his vivid, ...
The new book of articles and opinion from Jonathan Franzen, author of 'Freedom' and 'The Corrections'. Jonathan Franzen's 'Freedom' was the runaway most-discussed novel of 2010, an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the 21st century. Now, a new collection of Franzen's non-fiction brings fresh demonstrations of his vivid, moral intelligence, confirming his status not only as a great American novelist but also as a master noticer, social critic, and self-investigator. In 'Farther Away', which gathers together essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, the writer returns with renewed vigor to the themes, both human and literary, that have long preoccupied him. Whether recounting his violent encounter with bird poachers in Cyprus, examining his mixed feelings about the suicide of his friend and rival David Foster Wallace, or offering a moving and witty take on the ways that technology has changed how people express their love, these pieces deliver on Franzen's implicit promise to conceal nothing from the reader. Taken together, these essays trace the progress of unique and mature mind wrestling with itself, with literature, and with some of the most important issues of our day. 'Farther Away' is remarkable, provocative, and necessary.
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Publishers Weekly, 2012-05-28 Literary heavyweight Franzen's new nonfiction collection in audio features two highly personal essays read by the author, while Scott Shepherd narrates the remainder of the book's varied entries. In presenting the opening segment-the text of his commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2011-Franzen evokes the air of a curmudgeonly but wise uncle figure, warning bright young minds against the perils of the digital age. In giving voice to a chronicle of his journey to a remote island off the coast of Chile, Franzen effectively captures a sense of foreboding, particularly in his reflections on the suicide of fellow author and close friend David Foster Wallace. Shepherd skillfully transitions among the mix of genres-criticism, memoir, travelogue-latching onto dramatic elements while maintaining the cerebral tone set by Franzen himself. Shepherd's talent proves especially memorable in his rendering of Franzen's expose on songbird hunting in the Mediterranean; he portrays the players on both sides of this environmental struggle with an ear for vivid detail. A Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2012-03-26 Franzen (The Corrections) follows up his 2010 blockbuster novel, Freedom, with a collection of recent essays, speeches, and reviews, in which he lays out a view of literature in which storytelling and character development trump lyrical acrobatics, and unearths a few forgotten classics. Franzen's easy dismissal of a few canonical works, such as Ulysses, may invite contention, but when in his native realm-books that revel in the frustrations, despairs, and near-blisses of human relationships-he is an undeniably perceptive reader. In other essays, he confronts an epidemic of songbird hunting in the Mediterranean, tracks a novelty golf club cover back to a Chinese factory to investigate that nation's notoriously ambivalent stance toward environmental conservation, and withdraws to a remote South American island to meditate on Robinson Crusoe and the suicide of his friend and rival David Foster Wallace. He also weighs in on Facebook's narcissistic death spiral and the way the "sexy" new gadgets that never seem to leave our fingertips get in the way of real life and relationships, as well as the uneasy subject of autobiographical fiction and the effect a failed marriage had on his early novels. This intimate read is packed with provocative questions about technology, love, and the state of the contemporary novel. Agent: Susan Golomb Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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