Books

Review: In ‘Purity,’ Jonathan Franzen Hits a New Octave

 

nytimes.com – MICHIKO KAKUTANI

In a very funny passage in his dynamic new novel, Jonathan Franzen draws a very funny portrait of a writer struggling to write a novel “that would secure him his place in the modern American canon.” “Once upon a time,” this writer named Charles thinks, “it had sufficed to write ‘The Sound and the Fury’ or ‘The Sun Also Rises.’ But now bigness was essential. Thickness, length.”

Mr. Franzen, of course, is famous for having written two big novels, “The Corrections” and “Freedom,” that gave readers big, wide-angled lenses on American middle-class life at the turn of the millennium and helped cement his reputation as one of his generation’s most gifted writers.

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