Freedom

By Jonathan Franzen
(Farrar Straus Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374158460, 562pp.)

Publication Date: August 31, 2010

List Price: $28.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the September 2010 Indie Next List
“Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections is considered by many to be the best work of fiction produced in the last decade. Fans of Franzen's were provided a collection of essays in 2002 and a memoir in 2006, but waited expectantly for his next novel, hoping that it might provide the same humor, pain, and pathos as his previous novel had. Now, nine years later, Franzen has written Freedom, and it is as rich and rewarding as anything he has ever written; the characters are fully realized, the backdrop is perfectly captured, and the story is playful and sad, as heartbreaking as it is hopeful. Readers love Franzen because they know, and often are, the people he writes about, and are able to gain further access and insight into what it means to be human by spending time with the people and places he describes. Franzen does what so many writers fail to do, he brings his stories to life and allows us to live within them, if only for awhile.”
-- Kester Smith, Book People Bookstore, Austin, TX


Description

Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul--the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter--environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man--she was doing her small part to build a better world.

But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz--outre rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival--still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbor," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?

In his first novel since "The Corrections," Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.




About the Author
Jonathan Franzen is a National Book Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.


NPR
Saturday, Sep 4, 2010

Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Freedom, is being called a "masterpiece of American fiction." He was recently on the cover of Time magazine -- the first living author on its cover in more than a decade. Next weekend, Franzen will join us to talk about Freedom, the story of a contemporary American family in St. Paul, Minn. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Monday, Aug 30, 2010

Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Freedom, doesn't come out until Tuesday but The New York Times has already declared it a "masterpiece" and Time magazine has dubbed Franzen a "Great American Novelist." The book has gotten so much attention in the media that it's led to accusations of both gender and genre bias among the literary elite. More at NPR.org

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