Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Corrections (a novel)

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Have you ever read a book that you loved so much, it made you want to run out and buy every other book by the same author? That's how I felt about Jonathan Franzen's Freedom; after reading it, and finding myself almost grieving that the book had come to an end, I wanted more of this author. And so I bought The Corrections, an older, highly acclaimed novel of his.

Although I liked Freedom more, this book doesn't disappoint (although I do find it curious that this one won The National Book Award, and as far as I know, Freedom has not won any awards). Stretching from mid-century to modern-day, in this novel unfolds the Lamberts, a midwestern family comprised of Alfred, a stern, austere, repressed man descending into dementia, his wife Enid, flighty, desperate for some love and happiness and growing ever more bitter, and their three children: Gary, Chip, and Denise, who grow up and fly the coop in their own attempts to escape the oppression of their parents and who each, in his or her own way, make a mess of their lives. The story culminates in a Christmas reunion between the five of them that is both comic and tragic.

Franzen clearly has a gift for rendering characters who seem so real that it feels like you could touch them. Although every one of the Lamberts is at first glance unlikable, the author allows you to get to know them and in the end, love them.

I think I would have gotten more out of this book had I been able to read it at a quicker, smoother pace. Life has offered me so many distractions lately, however, that I feel like my reading of this story was choppy, and that took away from it for me. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it and recommend it.

Mine's up for grabs!

PS: Franzen is definitely one of my new favorite authors, and I can't wait to read something else by him. Apparently there is lots to choose from!

1 comment:

  1. Jonathan Franzen has written an ambitious, hugely human novel about a middle class family suffering from too many expectations.