Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374239213, 576pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of "Freedom"
""Young Pip Tyler doesn't know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she's saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she's squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother--her only family--is hazardous. But she doesn't have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she'll ever have a normal life.
Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world--including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn't understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong.
"Purity" is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of "The Corrections" and "Freedom" has imagined a world of vividly original characters--Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers--and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. "Purity "is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time.
Jonathan Franzen weaves together a cavalcade of stories and characters in his latest novel. Critic Maureen Corrigan says that despite its breadth, Purity fails to "emotionally move the reader." More at NPR.org
The new novel reveals sharp observations and a great, sprawling story. But critic Roxane Gay says the book gets bogged down with absurdly drawn characters and misfired critiques of modern life. More at NPR.org
The author of The Corrections and the new novel Purity likens writing to losing himself in a dream. "When it's really going well ... you're in a fantasy land and feeling no pain," he says. More at NPR.org