Incarceration. Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Freedom, is a great big sweeping novel that attempts to capture the early part of the 21st century in America. While the key dynamic in his previous novel, The Corrections, involved inter-generational conflict, this novel focuses on marriage and love relationships. While I found the characters in the previous novel to be unappealing in a distracting way, in this novel, the characters are sympathetic and nuanced enough to become appealing, no matter how they behave. The theme of freedom takes on multiple forms throughout the novel, and readers are led to reflect on the ways in which we become handcuffed by some aspects of freedom, and that free markets aren’t necessarily good. The bird on the cover makes its first appearance on page 210, which I found amusing, given that I was waiting to see where it would fit into the novel. Franzen’s writing is sometimes so finely done that it becomes overdone. Overall, I found this novel to be enjoyable and the writing was outstanding.
Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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