The Franzen frenzy

By Geoff Schumacher

The big book of the fall is Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Freedom. It debuted in stores yesterday, but its release was preceded by rave reviews in all the big newspapers and magazines. Time magazine put Franzen on the cover. President Obama went looking for a copy before the release date, and although the store he was in couldn’t sell him a commercial edition, it did dig up an advanced reader’s copy for him to take home.

All this was interesting for two reasons: 1) It showed it’s still possible in this digital era to build hype about a book, and 2) Freedom is a literary novel, not a spy thriller, mystery or vampire romance. It’s been decades, it seems, since people got excited about a literary novel.

Of course, I rushed to Borders yesterday and bought a copy, wisely using my frequent-buyer club coupon giving me a 33 percent discount.

But here’s the problem: I have the 562-page book but I’m not going to be able to do anything with it, such as read it, for a while. I feel that I should read Franzen’s last celebrated novel, The Corrections, first. The stories are unrelated, but it seems like a prerequisite act. And I can’t start The Corrections until I finish the novel I’m currently reading, which is Gary Shteyngart’s hilarious and great Super Sad True Love Story. About a hundred pages left in that one, so I should be able to start The Corrections fairly soon.

Meantime, Freedom sits patiently on the desk, waiting. I figure I’ll be able to crack it open around Nov. 1.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “The Franzen frenzy

  1. For the record, my wife has finished Freedom. She liked it fairly well, though she thought a few sections were unnecessarily sexually graphic. Nov. 1 has come and gone, and I’m not close to getting to it yet. Maybe Jan. 1.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s