From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a darkly comedic novel about family.
Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world. But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz - outré rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival - still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become “a very different kind of neighbor,” an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?
In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's intensely realized characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.
©2010 Jonathan Franzen (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
"The Great American Novel." (Esquire)
"It’s refreshing to see a novelist who wants to engage the questions of our time in the tradition of 20th-century greats like John Steinbeck and Sinclair Lewis . . . [This] is a book you’ll still be thinking about long after you’ve finished reading it." (Patrick Condon, Associated Press)
“Writing in prose that is at once visceral and lapidary, Mr. Franzen shows us how his characters strive to navigate a world of technological gadgetry and ever-shifting mores, how they struggle to balance the equation between their expectations of life and dull reality, their political ideals and mercenary personal urges. He proves himself as adept at adolescent comedy as he is at grown-up tragedy; as skilled at holding a mirror to the world his people inhabit day by dreary day as he is at limning their messy inner lives . . . Mr. Franzen has written his most deeply felt novel yet—a novel that turns out to be both a compelling biography of a dysfunctional family and an indelible portrait of our times." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
Not really what I was expecting from an Oprah book. I was expecting more. It did tie together at the end, but way to long to get to that.
This book was the most depressing tale about nothing. It was completely pointless. I am really disappointed that I wasted my monthly credit on this book.
I don't like it. Can't even finish the first segment. Not my type of book. I couldn't possibly care any less about any of the characters. But I may not be someone you should pay any attention to, when considering a purchase. I listened to a couple of the "Rabbit" books by John Updike with the same results. I don't get what the attraction is. Boring, somewhat shallow people from backgrounds I can't relate to, living their lives. BFD! Who cares?!
I approached this book with a little trepidation, given all the hype. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and the narration was outstanding.
How can anyone listen to this dribble about the worst aspects of life in America! Nothing is funny or redeeming about this book. I have no idea what is the hot interest in this downer.
This book has been widely praised as the great new american novel. I read it as I wanted to see what all the fuss is about and was disappointed with the book from beginning to end. So many of the parts that deal with the issues of "freedom" are simplistic and cliche. While the reader does a good job with the material, I cannot say that I enjoyed any of it. Proceed with caution...
I agree with Marlen from Santa Barbara. I have to force myself to continue. It is torture. The dialogue is repetitive and the narrative is awful. Don't waste your money. When I bought this the rating was well over 4 but it has been sliding ever since.
Radio Broadcaster for 50 years in the National Radio Hall of Fame and Texas Radio Hall of Fame twice . Live in San Diego from Holyoke Mass.
This was such a waste of $ but at one point I had to decide what my time was worth. Couldn't get thru it soooo sucks. Would not post unless I give it at least one star really no stars.
Sociology does not make for great or even good literature -- and this is sociology by the numbers. As if written from index cards, the characters of the book are carefully constructed from minute and plentiful place-time details, that approximate authenticity, but fail to engage. What's all the fuss?
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