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The Corrections | [Jonathan Franzen]

The Corrections

The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century - a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.
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Publisher's Summary

After almost 50 years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing spectacularly in his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain on an affair with a married man - or so her mother fears. Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to, Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home.

Stretching from the Midwest at midcentury to the Wall Street and Eastern Europe of today, The Corrections brings an old-fashioned world of civic virtue and sexual inhibitions into violent collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental health care, and globalized greed. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Frazen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.

©2001 Jonathan Franzen; (P)2001 Simon & Schuster Inc.; AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Fiction (Abridged), 2002
  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Adult Fiction, 2002
  • National Book Award Winner, Best Fiction, 2001
  • An Oprah Book Club Selection

"When critics refer to 'The Great American Novel' this is it, people!" (Oprah Winfrey)
"The brightest, boldest, and most ambitious novel I've read in many years." (Pat Conroy)
"This is, simply, a masterpiece." (Amazon.com)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (685 )
5 star
 (164)
4 star
 (212)
3 star
 (134)
2 star
 (99)
1 star
 (76)
Overall
3.6 (137 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (14)
Story
3.9 (132 )
5 star
 (43)
4 star
 (55)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    Charles Nashville, TN, USA 01-06-04
    Charles Nashville, TN, USA 01-06-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    173
    ratings
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    22
    18
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    Overall
    "A memorable book; flawless narration"

    For once the publisher's summary has got it right. The broad character sketches and plot synopses that it offers are dead on, and without a doubt Jonathan Franzen has written a brilliant novel. I would also like to add, as many others have mentioned, that Dylan Baker, the narrator of this piece, is one of the best narrators I've heard so far. He truly adds a depth to these characters that is astonishing; he literally becomes each character.

    The Corrections follows the lives of five family members, each with their own unique problems. All of these characters are fully developed and none are stereotypes -- each character is a decidedly different shade of gray. And despite the summary's emphasis on Enid, the wife and mother, of the novel's five characters, I would have to say that the story most belongs to Denise, the daughter, whose eyes seem to see more clearly than anyone else's here.

    I cannot say when I first became hooked into this story, which is actually a collection of character vignettes that crisscross over one another before finally uniting in the last few chapters; but I know I surrendered early on. At nine hours this book is a saga that only gets more interesting the longer you read it. As some have mentioned, the characters do tend to do hateful things to each another, and one could classify this book as depressing in tone; yet somehow one doesn't feel depressed while reading it, only uplifted. The Corrections is a fascinating, insightful, and satisfying book that leaves you thinking about it long after you've put it down.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd 05-07-03
    Todd 05-07-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    1
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    Overall
    "Wonderful study of growing old"

    My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Hilarious and deeply moving, you find yourself alternately laughing at, abhoring, hating, and loving each disfunctional person in this family as the author digs deeper and deeper into their past and present states of mind. and just for a thoughtful look into the mind of old age and how parkinsons might be like, it's worth it. You think that this author is never going to be able to rescue these people in my mind. But he does. They do redeem themselves, if only in becoming human enough, in spite of all their failings, they do something kind. And I love them for it. It's everything I like in a book. Highly recommend it.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela Santa Barbara, US, Canada 09-07-05
    Angela Santa Barbara, US, Canada 09-07-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
    ratings
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    121
    17
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    1
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    "I L-O-V-E this book!"

    Coming from a completely dysfunctional family myself it was so refreshing to read this book. There was no pat ending, no great epiphany that suddenly made all the characters become different people, no redemption, and no deliverance. Just a bunch a crazy people (and aren't we all) trying to wrench a little fun and a little excitement from their lives before they die. Its wonderful and funny and sad and very realistic. I thought it was terrific. I wish audible was set up for recomendations, i.e. if you enjoyed X, you might also enjoy Y. I would love something else along these same lines.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony London, N/A, United Kingdom 01-01-06
    Anthony London, N/A, United Kingdom 01-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Almost ..."

    This was one of the most skillfully done abridgments I've come across - no sense at all that vital material was being left out. Unfortunately the narration was only adequate. Some of the voices were good, others not quite there. As has been pointed out, this is a depressing book, but there are passages of astounding literary brilliance. Often made me think of Roth and Bellow.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan J bremerton , WA, USA 02-24-04
    Alan J bremerton , WA, USA 02-24-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    6
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Characters Reverberate"

    Finished this book 3 weeks ago and have since listened to two other audio books, but the words of Franzens' characters continue replaying in my head (perhaps this is partly attributable to the narrator's superb performance. Some books I can't wait to finish, but when this one ended I wanted more.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. C. Pile Millwood, NY 10-19-11
    T. C. Pile Millwood, NY 10-19-11 Member Since 2004

    audiobookaholic

    HELPFUL VOTES
    221
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    163
    52
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    15
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Abridge-me-not!"

    I missed this book when it came out, but after listening to and being awed by Freedom, I had to go back and get this one. Every bit as incisive, true, and gut-wrenching as the newer book, but I realized halfway through that I had downloaded the abridged version by mistake.

    Never again.

    There is nothing to gain from gutting a masterful work of fiction for the purpose of convenience, it that's the reason why books get abridged. As I finished the book, I had a feeling like I missed something, and the experience did not ring true.

    While I now have to go back and get the unabridged version to find out what I missed, I can still unequivocally give this book a 4 star rating, because the power of the writing and the insight came through loud and clear, even if incomplete.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-13-05
    07-13-05 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Hard to take, but worth it."

    At first, you are not going to know if you can make it through this book. Then you will have an epiphany, and that epiphany is that the characters are real...not "fiction" novel real, but everyday average home, average family real. Their problems are identifiable and so close to the surface you realize that this is why it's so hard to listen to this book. The narrator does a good job at giving you the feelings you are meant to feel as well. He is not overly charismatic as what is called for in this read. This book is deeper than the story. You will definitely self-reflect.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reademandweep LaLaLand 09-04-03
    Reademandweep LaLaLand 09-04-03 Member Since 2003

    and a penny for your thoughts

    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    135
    37
    FOLLOWERS
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    2
    1
    Overall
    "Poignant, Unique and great narration"

    I tried to read this book and found it a bit wordy. For some reason (maybe the headphones), I enjoyed the audible book and was moved by it. I though the narrarator was exactly right for this story. (I always listen to a sample because if the voice doesn't fit the story, it's ruined for me). Right in the middle between Enid and her children, I could realate to them both. I found this book moving and I agree with Oprah when she said "When the author finish this book, he must not have had a though left in his head!". What a unique storyteller.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy west Orange , NJ, USA 08-03-08
    Tammy west Orange , NJ, USA 08-03-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "The Corrections"

    I expected something totally different,however, I was entertained and did not want to stop listening until the book ended. This is the first book I have listened to on audible. I liked the descriptive content that gave you a great idea of the story. I was able to follow along with the voice that changed with the characters.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael lake oswego, OR, USA 02-26-03
    Michael lake oswego, OR, USA 02-26-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "An interesting book with interesting people....."

    But hey, I enjoy reading about messed up folks who only get their head above water long enough to choke down some sea weed. If you like this book go read Choke by Chuck Palahniuk....There's some interestingly neurotic characters in his books as well. The entertainment value of some people's daily struggle is highly under-rated.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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