Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

It's 2010, and Jonathan Franzen has returned to pass his all-seeing X-ray eye beams through another American decade. As in The Corrections, he has selected an unhappy family as the focus of his investigations: the Berglunds, who are living the bourgeois bohemian dream in St. Paul, Minn., until their children start getting away from them and old unresolved passions and angers start catching up with them. There is no one like Franzen for writing that is fully high-res and 3-D: the money, the sex, the bitterness, the music, the drinking, the birds — you see and hear and smell it all. And he follows every river upstream to its source, in childhood and in history, and downstream to its consequences, which are, as always, disastrous but never beyond redemption.