A One Sentence Review of a 562 Page Book

John Franzen swings for the fences with his new novel Freedom, and in a sense his Tom Wolfe-esque survey of America-- through the eyes of a disaffected athlete/housewife, an angry environmentalist, and a holier-than-thou indie rock star-- is spot on; he lampoons, ridicules, and skewers pretty much everything about modern language, relationships, liberalism, conservatism, sex, and-- of course-- freedom . . . it's a very, very long version of the REM song "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" but the book needs an editor, it eventually folds back unto itself and becomes repetitive and Franzen pushes a narrative trick too far, but even though I skimmed the last hundred pages, there is a wonderful set piece at the end about song-birds and feral cats and I will give the novel eight cerulean warblers our of a possible ten, for its realism, its scope, and its archetypal characters that invite you to compare your own modern philosophy to theirs . . . but I should warn you, although there's a bit of a pay-off at the end, most of the book is mired in an existential irony that will make you question the significance of your life, and perhaps the significance of any human life on this wonderful green planet we inhabit.

6 comments:

zman said...

My sister gave me The Corrections. Can you read it tonight and give a one-sentence review tomorrow? Thanks.

Igor said...

Mis-punctuating the possessive "its" thrice in one sentence doesn't forcibly make it correct. Your bullying that little word makes me want to shoot myself.

Lecky said...

Whit - have never seen any effinate qualities in you but that is an Oscar Wildey comment.

Lecky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lecky said...

meant effeminate, ruined the ballbreaking attempt

Dave said...

i need whitney to edit my sentences BEFORE i print them.

A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.