Jonathan Franzen Archive

The Affair’s Slyly Satirical Portrayal of the White Male Literary Darling

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While Showtime’s The Affair has been praised for its incisive exploration of the unreliability of memory, particularly in romantic relationships, some of its most insightful commentary is on the contemporary literary community.

The Work of Fiction and the Fiction of Work

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A life is divided into three parts: the time before you’re able to work, the time after you’re able to work, and the monstrous bulk of time between. After obedience to the law and some basic moral code, work is one of the great demands placed upon the able.

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Fatherhood” by David Rutschman

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How many words does it take to encapsulate a feeling? An experience? A story we looked at two weeks ago, “Love” by Clarice Lispector, spends just under 3,500 words exploring its title, where Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom takes well over 500 pages plumbing its own. While “Fatherhood” by David Rutschman

Round-Down: “Governments Make Bad Editors,” Authors Protest During BookExpo America

BookExpo America 2015 (BEA), one of the leading book conferences internationally and held this year in New York, was recently host to a five-hundred-person delegation from the Chinese government, representing one-hundred publishing houses–attendance that BookExpo has described as “unprecedented” and which covered over twenty-thousand square feet of convention space. On the

The Passionate Lives of Writers and Readers

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When my husband and I moved in together, one of the biggest challenges we faced was how to merge our TV-watching styles. For my husband, if the TV is on, you’re actively watching something. For me, if the TV is on, it means you’re home. (I need some kind

Round-Down: Enough of Genre Debate Already

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I’m a little disappointed in Jennifer Weiner. And not in the way you’d think. Certainly not in the same way as Jonathan Franzen. Rather, I’m disappointed that she’s seemingly buying into the genre vs. literary distinction while she (admirably and very hilariously) defends herself on Twitter against Franzen’s latest attacks.

The Lonesome Dove Problem

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I have a problem: I’ve already read Lonesome Dove. And Lonesome Dove is the most totally absorbing wonderfully awesome novel on the planet. So nothing else really compares. Hence, my problem. I’ve tried to address this problem by waiting a lot of years and then reading Lonesome Dove again. I first read

Literary Boroughs #54: Boston, MA (Part 1)

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. Posts are by no means exhaustive and we encourage our readers to contribute in the comment section. The

Literary Boroughs #42: St. Louis, MO

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. Posts are by no means exhaustive and we encourage our readers to contribute in the comment section. The

Blurbese: “The First _____”

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When Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom was published, in 2010, the British Daily Telegraph called it “the first great American novel of the post-Obama era.” If that sounds oddly specific (not to mention premature), they at least had good reason for it: the title of “first great American novel of the