National Book Award, Fiction, 2001
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. 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 specatcularly at 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 Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.
©2010 Jonathan Franzen (P)2010 Simon and Schuster
Usually the unabridged version of any book is the best one- -however, after listening to the abridged version of this book, which was 9 hours long, I saw there was a new unabridged version. Of course I thought I had missed a ton of material since the unabridged book is 12 hours longer - so I listened to the unabridged version, which was 21 hours long - I've got to say the additional 12 hours did not add much substance to the book. There was some value in that explanations of some of the events were more understandable, but overall it really was not worth it. Both versions are good, but I would recommend the abridged -it gets you there without all the "fillers"-
The book is a masterpiece of the understanding of human emotions, but also of all the secret motivations that drive our daily lives- -we all have our own agenda's- I applaud the author on his incredible insight.into the human heart and his ability to translate those feelings with such skill.
By the way, the narrator of the Abridged Version is the very best to listen to- he hits the perfect mark everytime on all characters and just the right pauses and tempo!
funny, annoying, sad
I'm 10 years late to the party but will always be glad I came. This story creates a scenario where the pressures of adult life are squeezed by the reponsibility of aging parents . . . and poor/selfish choices.
The characters are infuriatingly flawed at times but it adds to their realism. At times I hated them and was shocked by their selfishness, but who is to say that a close review of our own lives wouldn't evoke similar annoyance or disgust in others. We are all flawed and these characters are too.
The reader's voicing of the declining Alfred was spot on.
I'm off to explore more Franzen.
I'm usually pretty easy to please when it comes to audio books, but this one I gave up on after three hours. The characters were just overwhelmingly unpleasant. I get what the author was going for, but I prefer to read/listen to stories where I care about the characters at least a little.
I stayed with it as long as I did because I hoped there would be some glimmer of hope for the characters. I kept thinking that one of the characters had to have some redeeming qualities. When I realized that it would never happen, I just couldn't bring myself to waste anymore time on the book. I loved "Freedom", but this is the second disappointing book in a row from Franzen.
I have nothing to offer anyone except my own confusion.
Yes, as its' one of the single greatest novels ever written. The story captivates from beginning to end, brings a variety of timely social issues to the table and tells a great story around the discussion of those issues.
Chip's arrival at the home for Christmas, which seemed predictable but at the same time the author gave no clue that it would actually happen ... or Alfred's dementia induced talking feces..
His voice actually bothered me at first, or at least for the first few minutes of the listen. As you get involved with the characters of the novel what at first listen seems like the voice of an elderly man becomes capable of giving each character a completely distinct voice, and ultimately ends up in a great listening experience.
Neither, but there were numerous moments when Gary and Chip were placed into situations I, like many men, had experienced in real life.
This book probably rings true to a certain audience, a group of people I hope never to meet. The characters don't grow. They aren't just flawed, they are terminally selfish, boorish, and 2-dimensional. You won't like them. (Again, I shudder to think that you might relate to them.) Perhaps, you could love to hate them, or smugly compare them to people you know. (That idea is also shudder-worthy.)
There is no plot to speak of.
The book is myopically (satirically one can hope) middle-aged, upper-middle class, white male.
If that is not you, you will feel alienated from this work and its themes. I don't think I've ever read anything so distinctly this one demographic in my life and I'm including classic lit in my estimation.
It has funny moments, but it is mostly sad, like the second half of Don Quixote where everyone makes funny of a confused and ailing man ( even though in this case the ailing man is racist, mean, tyrannical etc. and you can't really feel compassion for him).
I was deeply affected by Franzen's characterization and plot. The stories bob and weave with such wonderfully articulated pain and beauty that I lament coming to the end. Masterful and pleasurable....
Of course! It's a long, winding series of fantastically drawn character studies, elegantly performed by the great George Guidall. What more could you want? Seriously, this is a book where the author spends literally hundreds of pages introducing us to these characters, and then puts them all in a house together for Christmas.
Fairly early on, without going into any details, one of the characters remembers with dawning horror the number of instances a certain object pops up in a script he has written, and Franzen recounts these instances with savage hilarity. I laughed out loud more than once.
Oh, don't make me choose. I loved every hilarious, frustrating moment with these characters, and I feel like I know them better than some of my old friends.
Chip. That man has stories to tell.
Look, I know I'm preaching to the choir here-- this book has won loads of awards and accolades already. Everyone knows about it. But this one's worth experiencing.
I was hoping that George Guidall (one of my favourite narrators) would be enough to sustain me through this, but, sadly, no. I kept trying - interspersing pieces with other audiobooks, but nothing could make me want to continue listening to this. Not even Guidall.
Perhaps if you're already a fan of Franzen, but the senselessness and the attempts at humour just didn't make anything, or anyone, interesting to me. When Al started having hallucinations about his own talking feces, I decided I couldn't go on. But I rallied for one more try.....and I still found I had no interest.
While the characters might have be interesting (though the parents are cliches of annoying parents, and the kids span the cliches of anti-traditional grown children), they are all overly described and overly analyzed, leaving nothing for the reader to create. And the situations? Well, I thought all the attempts at humour and one-liners fell flat, so without a plot there's not much else.
Glass blower and audiobook junkie. Books are my schoolroom and my entertainment!
It's great when a book makes you laugh out loud, and even better when it makes you grin to yourself at an excellent turn of phrase. This book did both. Man, if I could write like this I'm not sure if I'd ever do anything else.
As masterfully written as it was, the plot clipped right along for me and I never felt like he was trying to impress you with flowery language or clog up the story with excess description in an effort to be extra serious or 'literary'.
I'm glad they chose such a great and professional reader to do this one justice. This is a story that's going to stay with me for a long time.
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