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.
"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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
and a penny for your thoughts
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.
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.
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.
"It made me laugh, it made me cry."
A wonderful story of a dysfunctional family and all its ups and downs, misunderstandings and petty grudges. Bittersweet and full of well-rounded characters, none of whom have many redeeming features, but somehow become likeable in their own way. There are many moments of tragi-comedy and some real points of despair. Well-plotted and skillfully narrated. The deep-seated problems in relationships between parents and children and between siblings will strike a bell with many.
loved it. dylan baker is brilliant and helps create the characters further with his voices and accents :)
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