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
I really got into this book and it stands out as one of my favorite listens. It's a character driven book and the story and characters felt really true to life in a quirky way. The observations woven into the story on life, family and marriage brought the story to another level for me. Franzen's other book Freedom seems to be more reviewed. I have listened to both and prefer this one. George Guidall does his usual fantastic job as a narrator.
Franzen and Guidall are a perfect formula for a successful literary novel. The Lambert family is so funny, sad, hopeful and disastrous that I was unaware that all the 568 pages had passed me by. Franzen's gift for allowing characters to drift, grow and develop their self awareness have made me a devotee of all his work so far.
Definitely recommended as worth your time and credit.
For this book I wish I could rate it 3.75, it was definitely better than a 3 but really not quite a 4. The characters are really well developed and Franzen's writing style is very detailed and so vivid (unbelievable descriptions of what it must be like to have Parkinson's disease) - you definitely get the picture he has painted with words, but sometimes he just goes on too long, the detail and description is just too much. I like a good book that doesn't waste my time with tedious, unrelated to the story, details. For me that is what stops this book from being a 4.
The author seemed bent on impressing us with wordplay rather than plot or character development. Sadly, even George Guidall, an excellent narrator, could not keep me engaged.
"Listening with my other ear"
I am not sure if I will ever listen to or read another Franzen work, but we shouldn't say never
I love Mr. Guidall's work, usually, and here as the voice of the older couple he is great (and even the younger men), but I just didn't care for his voice for the women. It was hard for me also because their are no chapter breaks in the audio book and because of this and the fact that Mr Guidall's voice really didn't show the changes, it was often confusing.
I think this gentleman is an incredible writer, but sometimes that isn't enough. I really hated the characters and everything about them, I would have loved just one person in which I could relate, but this whole family is perverted and sad! There wasn't one I rooted for except maybe the young book reader. I don't mind a few scenes of passion or whatever you would like to call them,or characters that are harsh with their language if the characters stay true to their form. But, good lord, I finally found myself saying out loud, "COME ON", "Geesh", Get A Room! When a writer is an incredible word smith but is self indulgent, for me, this can makes for a awkward read. Some things are better left to the reader's imagination. This kind of writing, to me, is like the gratuitously made movies in Hollywood today. A little go a long way. And that's my two cents worth
I did not want to like the book because the author seems like an asshole. It was fantastic. An incredible story read by someone who understands the characters.
I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.
One of the best books I've listened to all year....well next to Franzen's more recent novel, 'Freedom'. Both are so so so good. Franzen is my favorite author right now. These are the types of listens that will make your next audible purchase very difficult because nothing will be as good.
I do not consider raising my anxiety level to the max by putting me in the midst of the most hopeless and unlovable family I have ever come to know entertaining. If this is a true representation of " the American society and the American soul" we are doomed. The author is amazingly skilled at his ability to portray believable characters. The problem for me was I didn't want to know them. I didn't even want to face the possibility people as despairingly undone as this are among us. I was never more glad when this ended and I could leave their world. The narrator did a fine job of conveying the utter doom of the whole story. As gifted as he is, I fear to read anything else by Franzen. There could be knives too available nearby.
Say something about yourself!
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!
George Guidall's rendition of this pitch-perfect portrait of neurotic dysfunction is brilliant. Only slightly exaggerated, the interior worlds of these generally unlikeable persons emerge with poignant and uncomfortable clarity.
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