“Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen

Publication day, and the new Franzen novel arrived in the post for me this morning, delivered by a Major Internet Bookseller. This is easily the most anticipated novel of the year (not book – that accolade probably goes to Tony BLIAR!’s memoir). I’m not even going to post any links to newspaper reviews and/or discussions, because there are so many of them. From the cover of Time to the New York Times, Twitter to the Guardian and most points in between: has Franzen written the (or another) Great American Novel? Is there such a thing as the Great American Novel? Should there be? Is book-chat in the upmarket press too geared towards work by male at the expense of female writers? Is Franzen’s whole approach to the novel woefully old-fashioned or bravely traditional? I can’t make up my mind because I haven’t even cracked the book open yet – but discussion and debate that transcends the book-chat sections of the aforementioned upmarket press is always a Good Thing. Franzen continues to fight the brave fight, and refuses to deny that the novel continues to be the major cultural transmitter of our age.

More thoughts when I’ve actually read the thing. It’s 500+ pages – should take me a couple of days, at least …

Addendum: I’m on page 118 now. It is excellent.

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