Franzen: s/d

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Has anyone read any of Franzen's other books? I am about to finish 'The 27th City' (about 10 pages from the end) and I must say I do not care for it. I did like the 'Corrections' and I can see how he eventually was able to write it (I can explain if this makes no sense). But I feel like there is some piece I am missing in 'The 27th City'. Has anyone else read this? I also have a copy of his second book 'Strong Motion' and am wondering if it is worth reading.

bookdwarf (bookdwarf), Monday, 28 June 2004 19:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I read and enjoyed both The Corrections and Strong Motion. I also just finished his essay collection, which I also really liked.

The Twenty-Seventh City is on deck for me, so your comments are a little disheartening. What, exactly, don't you like about it? I'll probably give it a chance anyway.

Brian Sawyer, Tuesday, 29 June 2004 16:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The NYTimes Magazine article about Franzen and his devotion to writing even if it tanked his marriage was maybe the most compelling thing I have ever read.

I kept thinking 'what a freak.'

clellie, Tuesday, 29 June 2004 20:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I guess I didn't like that there were too many characters to keep track of and I didn't care about any of them because there wasn't room to develop them. I am not one of these people who have to like a character to enjoy a book, but the characters seemed one dimensional. Plus Franzen included all of this intrigue but I found it hard to align with what was actually happening in the plot, if that makes any sense.

bookdwarf (bookdwarf), Thursday, 1 July 2004 19:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I've only read The Corrections, but all of my friends -- who are, for the most part, knowledgeable, book-loving folks -- who have read The 27th City (at least, to my knowledge) have disliked it. So, Bookdwarf, others feel the same.

nory (nory), Thursday, 1 July 2004 19:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I read the first 50 pages of 27th city, and I decided to stop. it seemed like lesser vonnegut - unfunny satire, shaggy dog plot... I don't think he'd yet found his talent, which is, based on the Corrections, character. i did like his essays, though.

David Elinsky (David Elinsky), Thursday, 1 July 2004 20:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Hmm, gratified to know I am not the only one. Do you ever feel like you ought to like a book? I think Franzen hadn't hit his stride yet with '27th City'. Has anyone read 'Strong Motion'? Is it worth reading?

bookdwarf (bookdwarf), Thursday, 1 July 2004 21:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...
this short story is not bad at all

http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/content/articles/050523fi_fiction

Mayor Maynot, Thursday, 19 May 2005 00:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

What's funny is that I read The Twenty-Seventh City first, many man years ago, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Breezy, not terribly deep, but a good fun book. Admittedly, I'm from St. Louis, so it was interesting to me for that reason.

Anyways, then I read his more "literary" (for lack of a better word) stuff and found it kinda ponderous in comparison.

I think people who come from The Corrections, or his very elegant stories, expect more from The Twenty-Seventh City than they're going to find. Don't compare it to The Corrections; compare it to the average thriller--Hunt for Red October, say, or Ludlum.

The Mad Puffin, Wednesday, 25 May 2005 14:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
I am reading How To Be Alone. It is odd: he writes well, as such a writer usually does; and he is interesting. But quite often I am simply not convinced by his claims. Has anyone else had this experience?

My largest thought about the book is how US-specific it seems to be. I feel that many of his claims must have been (or remain) plausible for the USA, while feeling off-beam for the UK. Does anyone agree with that? I suppose I am mainly thinking of his sense of living amid cultural 'totalitarianism' (an ill-advised word anyway, no doubt) and a philistinism that threatens to crush the spirit. He says what he's getting at is the difficulty of retaining 'individuality and complexity in a noisy and distracting mass culture'. But is this a genuine problem? I think it's a bogus one. I don't think I can think of anyone I know who has lost their individuality to the mass culture around them.

He is better and more original on the decline of the 'public'.

the pinefox, Thursday, 30 June 2005 13:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

BUT - his essay on the lack of discretion immediately follows one on his father's illness and death, quoting his mother's private letters! Crazy!

the pinefox, Tuesday, 5 July 2005 13:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

i like his story in this weeks new yorker a lot. i think the distanced, reportorial tone gives it some emotional heft & he mostly avoids the exaggerated meanspiritedness of the corrections although some of the "professional democrat" stuff comes close

Lamp, Thursday, 27 May 2010 18:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's really good, I enjoyed it a lot. The posts upthread about his strength being character are otm.

Ismael Klata, Thursday, 27 May 2010 19:14 (eight years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

http://nymag.com/arts/books/reviews/67497/

enthusiasm about the new one

baby i know that you think i'm just a lion (schlump), Thursday, 12 August 2010 21:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,20100823,00.html

markers, Thursday, 12 August 2010 21:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

If they could talk, the otters would tell Franzen to man up, chill out and have a sea urchin. But I'm not sure that's possible for him, or even a good idea. Franzen's self-consciousness is part of what makes his writing so good, because he is painfully conscious not only of his own self but of your self too. It's his instrument, in the musical and also the scientific sense: a delicate, finely calibrated recording device. The otters may not be worried. But Franzen is worried enough for all of us.

*barf*

Mr. Que, Thursday, 12 August 2010 23:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

I love that NYmag review, a joy to read such simple good vibes - am anticipating bigtime now.

All that stuff about Franzen the crank and curmudgeon I dislike in principle in an individual - but what's so great is that with him I don't particularly care and that's fine, whereas some other authors feel like all front, as if the books are just a means of them selling you their personality.

Ismael Klata, Friday, 13 August 2010 11:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

Sam Anderson is pretty great I think - also looking forward to this now.

Stevie T, Friday, 13 August 2010 11:24 (eight years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Jonathan Franzen's glasses held to ransom: Launch party for acclaimed novel Freedom marred by theft of spectacles from author's face

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/05/jonathan-franzen-glasses-held-to-ransom

peacocks, Tuesday, 5 October 2010 12:38 (eight years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Been reading Freedom. I find myself swinging between feeling involved with the story and feeling like there is some overtly obvious manipulation going on where it's like watching a tv melodrama.

(bnw) (bnw), Monday, 25 October 2010 18:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

totally

bows don't kill people, arrows do (Jordan), Monday, 25 October 2010 19:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

kinda feel like tv melodramas are more artfully structured

soda lake swame (Lamp), Tuesday, 26 October 2010 23:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

lol i think the LRB review compared it to a tv melodrama as well

just sayin, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 07:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

why is the emotional manipulation like that of a tv melodrama and not like that of a victorian novel?

thomp, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

because he speaks to our times, dude.

j., Wednesday, 27 October 2010 15:45 (eight years ago) Permalink

and shows us who we are.

j., Wednesday, 27 October 2010 15:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
one month passes...

Could Walter's using the example of the Dave Matthews Band as the epitome of bad music be a sub-textual reference to ILX?

calstars, Saturday, 22 January 2011 16:22 (seven years ago) Permalink

I find it difficult to believe Franzen has never stumbled briefly into ilx, while searching the net, due to its roots in Pitchfork. That he would stay and tourist around in it seems only very remote and unlikely to me. He'd never escape and his output would fall to zero.

Aimless, Saturday, 22 January 2011 18:48 (seven years ago) Permalink

on the other hand, i think a lot of people just dislike the dave matthews band

thomp, Sunday, 23 January 2011 10:47 (seven years ago) Permalink

also he took like ten years to write freedom, right? that's like nine and a half days per page. p much zero

thomp, Sunday, 23 January 2011 10:49 (seven years ago) Permalink

In Freedom, the portrayal of Patty is intriguing because her awakening is never proclaimed, is muffled and almost denied (I haven't read her postscript yet), and in her section -- "written by her" -- she is defenseless and naive. So overall, Franzen keeps her distance and seems to be saying that some things can't be known and are the domain of fiction.

The kitchen sink quality is odd because my guess is that Franzen is reticent, but in a weird way, it seems he aspires to be frantic and popular, but in Freedom it plays out in a more controlled, 4th album way (than in the Corrections). This is not a judgment upon him or his writing.

youn, Sunday, 23 January 2011 22:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I'm about 1/3 of the way into Strong Motion. Enjoying it, possibly more than the later two

calstars, Sunday, 6 March 2011 18:13 (seven years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Maybe I need to read this new essay again but I was really searching for the point.

calstars, Monday, 30 May 2011 14:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

Jonathan Franzen is the author, most recently, of “Freedom.” This essay is adapted from a commencement speech he delivered on May 21 at Kenyon College.

thomp, Monday, 30 May 2011 23:44 (seven years ago) Permalink

Hey, that's my alma mater. My year, though, instead of Franzen or Wallace, we had a certain Republican presidential candidate as commencement speaker whose son was supposed to graduate with us but did not :-(.

27 Dresses, 13 Assassins (Eazy), Tuesday, 31 May 2011 22:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

should I bother reading Freedom? I don't care for Updike.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 20 July 2011 17:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

I love Updike and I loved Freedom, so...no.

calstars, Thursday, 21 July 2011 01:09 (seven years ago) Permalink

Freedom made me feel gross. Franzen is a good writer in terms of his language but every character was just awful, even the ones with which you're supposed to sympathize.

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 21 July 2011 01:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

yeah he can't wipe this sheen of disdain from the characters, and I HATE his narrative voice: this pseudo-cute smart informality.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 July 2011 01:14 (seven years ago) Permalink

That combined with his awful sex scenes made it a queasy reading experience.

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 21 July 2011 01:17 (seven years ago) Permalink

i actually kinda liked the corrections as i was reading it, even if the flaws were plentiful and obvious, like here is a dude who came out of one tradition and is now pushing himself hard in the opposite direction, even if the ball is bouncing off the backboard 50 percent of the time. but freedom was just junk. whoever said "tv melodramas" up thread was otm, but it's more like someone turned one of those not-even-melodramatic-enough-to-be-oscar-bait indie flicks into an hbo miniseries. except instead of coddling and putting a halo around the gently fucked-up middle-class characters the way most of those filmmakers do, you get, as alfred said, a constant and not always subliminal disdain. i don't mind unlikable protagonists or even author-contempt for same but the style's gotta be a LOT better than franzen's and the stakes have gotta be higher. or it's at least got to be funny.

franzen the person, at least as expressed through his writing-about-himself since it's not like i know the dude, strikes me as one of the more deeply unpleasant literary personas of "our" generation.

apichathong song (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Thursday, 21 July 2011 13:48 (seven years ago) Permalink

that new yorker article he wrote recently (robinson crusoe/dfw/etc) mostly made me feel bad for him. so bitter.

i love 'the corrections' fwiw.

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 21 July 2011 14:42 (seven years ago) Permalink

"etc" there = "jonathan fucking franzen" and it was as usual the primary subject of the essay iirc

my Sonicare toothbrush (difficult listening hour), Thursday, 21 July 2011 14:45 (seven years ago) Permalink

yeah that essay was the first that actually made me want to put sugar in his gas tank or something. and it's not like there's been a shortage of irritating j. franzen essays over the last 15 years.

apichathong song (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Thursday, 21 July 2011 14:50 (seven years ago) Permalink

One of my favorite horrors: "The kitchen area was a nauseating, never-cleaned sty that smelled like a mental illness."

HOW DOES ANYTHING SMELL LIKE A MENTAL ILLNESS?

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 July 2011 15:02 (seven years ago) Permalink

jars of pee iirc

she started dancing to that (Finefinemusic), Thursday, 21 July 2011 15:03 (seven years ago) Permalink

freedom is what happens when a meanspirited and successful novelist who lives in brooklyn decides that he can write authoritatively about all sorts of things and people that have very little to do with the daily lives of meanspirited, successful novelists who live in brooklyn.

like his disdain and his lack of curiosity make it impossible for him to accurately or convincingly portray how someone like joey would see or feel about the world so he ends up being this ridiculous, hateful figure. & w/ the exception of the bird stuff most of the 'detail' in the novel came across like half-remembered takes on old new yorker and atlantic articles with a bit of the sunday style section thrown in.

a series of interminable puns (Lamp), Thursday, 21 July 2011 15:16 (seven years ago) Permalink

difficult listening hour helpfully provided several examples of sparkling prose from the Crusoe article:

To speak more generally, the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.
Even when I didn’t have anybody to call or text or e-mail, I wanted to keep fondling my new Bold and experiencing the marvelous clarity of its screen, the silky action of its track pad, the shocking speed of its responses, the beguiling elegance of its graphics.

It’s a long story, but basically I fell in love with birds. I did this not without significant resistance, because it’s very uncool to be a birdwatcher, because anything that betrays real passion is by definition uncool.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 July 2011 17:08 (seven years ago) Permalink

? Kushner pretty much says she loves him in that article

a (waterface), Friday, 16 October 2015 13:47 (three years ago) Permalink

idk maybe i'm reading too much into this

the book, which is filled with great comedy. (For the record, I would consider Jon principally a comic writer.)

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 16 October 2015 22:28 (three years ago) Permalink

flamethrowers sucked

Treeship, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 00:29 (three years ago) Permalink

the backlash against franzen seems over the top to me even though he seems totally worthless. somewhat interested in the corrections but there is so much i am more interested in

Treeship, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 00:32 (three years ago) Permalink

flamethrowers sucked

― Treeship,

hallelujah

calstars, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 00:43 (three years ago) Permalink

you guys are so wrong

a (waterface), Tuesday, 20 October 2015 13:19 (three years ago) Permalink

itt waterface complains about treeship's lack of positivity

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 20 October 2015 14:23 (three years ago) Permalink

i liked this!

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/06/carbon-capture

see, i can say nice things...

scott seward, Tuesday, 27 October 2015 20:20 (three years ago) Permalink

for all his problems, i was really moved by Freedom, and i'm still thinking about it a month after finishing it. poor Walter. it helped that I visualized him as Walter Becker from Steely Dan

flappy bird, Thursday, 29 October 2015 18:17 (three years ago) Permalink

O rily

I thought "Flamethrowers" was fantastic but couldn't finish "Freedom," the first and last Franzen I will ever try to read

RAP GAME SHANI DAVIS (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 8 November 2015 01:09 (three years ago) Permalink

for all his problems, i was really moved by Freedom, and i'm still thinking about it a month after finishing it. poor Walter. it helped that I visualized him as Walter Becker from Steely Dan

― flappy bird, Thursday, October 29, 2015 6:17 PM (1 week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i did this too. it wasn't enough.

thwomp (thomp), Sunday, 8 November 2015 01:35 (three years ago) Permalink

The last book that made you cry?

Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom.” That ending really got me. He would be one of the writers mentioned under the title favorite novelist.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/books/review/nathan-lane-by-the-book.html?hpw&rref=books&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

scott seward, Sunday, 8 November 2015 02:06 (three years ago) Permalink

He would be one of the writers mentioned under the title favorite novelist

let's just stare at this sentence for a bit

thwomp (thomp), Sunday, 8 November 2015 02:48 (three years ago) Permalink

iirc the ending of freedom:

the wife humiliates herself and risks her life to earn the forgiveness of the husband because she was fucking his friend who was just a less abhorrent human being

the husband was fucking the only non-white character of note in the book, whose whole role in the book was to want to fuck this just totally abhorrent and physically repulsive man, and to conveniently die such that abhorrent man can move on with his life

the husband does not need to humiliate himself or risk his life to earn the wifes forgiveness for any of this because hey thats franzentown

also the reason pace franzen that she wanted to fuck the other dude was that husband was too gentle and respectful of her status as rape survivor to fuck her properly

yeah the tears are fucking flowing right here

thwomp (thomp), Sunday, 8 November 2015 02:51 (three years ago) Permalink

now im reliving the enraging experience of having read 'freedom' by acclaimed novelist jonny franzen

dead (Lamp), Sunday, 8 November 2015 02:56 (three years ago) Permalink

the other day i was thinking about how weird how much he seems to care about where his characters did their undergraduate degrees. like how important and 'telling' that is in his construction

dead (Lamp), Sunday, 8 November 2015 02:57 (three years ago) Permalink

/He would be one of the writers mentioned under the title favorite novelist/

let's just stare at this sentence for a bit


Lol, that's exactly what I did for a long moment, wondering if maybe somebody had logged on as skot like in the old days.

Memes of the Pwn Age (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 8 November 2015 04:02 (three years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

LOL Franzen 2016:

Have you ever considered writing a book about race?

I have thought about it, but—this is an embarrassing confession—I don’t have very many black friends. I have never been in love with a black woman. I feel like if I had, I might dare.

[I adjust the microphone, which he stares at for a moment.] Good, good, good. The mic. Got the mic pointed toward me. I am doing all the talking here. [Pauses.]

You were saying you have never been in love with a black woman.

Right. Didn’t marry into a black family. I write about characters, and I have to love the character to write about the character. If you have not had direct firsthand experience of loving a category of person—a person of a different race, a profoundly religious person, things that are real stark differences between people—I think it is very hard to dare, or necessarily even want, to write fully from the inside of a person.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 14:51 (two years ago) Permalink

"I feel it’s really dangerous, if you are a liberal white American, to presume that your good intentions are enough to embark on a work of imagination about black America."

Franzen pretty otm here in my opinion

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 1 August 2016 14:54 (two years ago) Permalink

well, yeah, if the reason you are writing something is because you have good intentions, than definitely try not to do that. unless you are an amazing writer. than it probably wouldn't be that dangerous. it just might not be great. and i am thankful that franzen is not writing about race. his next novel should really be about a white novelist who writes a lot of e-mails and then goes bird-watching.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 16:47 (two years ago) Permalink

- Do stupid comments on social media get to you? What about a long and thoughtful review? Do you engage with that sort of thing?

- No. I don’t even read positive reviews unless they are absolutely certified by eight different people to not contain one thing that could upset me.

- Really?

- Yes.

the pinefox, Monday, 1 August 2016 18:02 (two years ago) Permalink

as much as franzen has said a lot of dumb stuff - and his comments are worded really badly, i can kind of sympathise with the tendency for a white writer to avoid trying to write about other races or other experiences besides his/her own. isn't it kind of arrogant for a white male writer to assume he can talk freely from the mouth of a character from any background you choose?

i mean, the onus is more on society to promote and talk about writers from different backgrounds than it is for existing successful white male writers to lead the way by writing about characters they so far haven't written about. i don't know why we would expect them to do that or even want them to.

also, writing fiction is really really difficult - creating things is really really difficult. if a writer hasn't done xyz thing it's probably because they can't.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 1 August 2016 18:12 (two years ago) Permalink

well he says he doesn't do much research on stuff he's not that interested in. and i think it shows. every time i read him i just picture a guy at home writing.

a great writer can make me forget about the guy at home writing. and a good writer can and should write about whatever they want. or write in any voice that they want. which is hard work to get right.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 18:43 (two years ago) Permalink

i've never read his books, but i agree with all of that, i'm just not sure that writing about other identities is a prerequisite for achieving those things. the written word is p powerful in many directions with many possibilities.

a good writer can and should write about whatever they want. or write in any voice that they want. which is hard work to get right

again, i agree. but whatever they want is not the same as what others feel they should.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 1 August 2016 19:23 (two years ago) Permalink

Anyone who can avoid being written about by Franzen should feel grateful.

a charisma-free shitlord (Old Lunch), Monday, 1 August 2016 19:27 (two years ago) Permalink

amen.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 19:46 (two years ago) Permalink

most white american writers don't even bother. cuz they know they would suck at writing about anyone not like them or from their tiny world. journalists who write fiction (like crime fiction) don't seem to think its a big deal. probably because they have met more than 4 people in their work as journalists.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 19:49 (two years ago) Permalink

mostly people just take a tip from t.v. and have everyone talk and act the same no matter who they are. which is the safest bet if you don't know how to create living breathing fictional characters who differ from each other in substantial ways.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 19:55 (two years ago) Permalink

p sure many, many of the authors i've read you mention on the reading threads don't write about people who aren't the same race as them, and that doesn't make them bad writers. you can write about what you don't know without it being another race.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 1 August 2016 20:00 (two years ago) Permalink

i wanna be really clear. there isn't anything that anyone HAS to write about. but i also don't think that anything should be "dangerous" to write about. even if its a misguided polemic on race written by an outsider. it will live and die on its own merits. i also think that there are a LOT of current white american fiction writers who write what they know and it often turns out that they don't know that much. or know much about people. most of the (white) writers i love know a lot about people. inside and out. if people is their thing. and not the process of terraforming distant planets. sometimes that is their thing. and knowing something inside and out is one way a minor writer can become a major one.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 20:23 (two years ago) Permalink

can we talk about his choice of jeans

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 1 August 2016 20:30 (two years ago) Permalink

i wanna be really clear. there isn't anything that anyone HAS to write about. but i also don't think that anything should be "dangerous" to write about. even if its a misguided polemic on race written by an outsider. it will live and die on its own merits. i also think that there are a LOT of current white american fiction writers who write what they know and it often turns out that they don't know that much. or know much about people. most of the (white) writers i love know a lot about people. inside and out. if people is their thing. and not the process of terraforming distant planets. sometimes that is their thing. and knowing something inside and out is one way a minor writer can become a major one.

fair enough. i guess i think even within an ostensibly narrow frame a writer can achieve a lot. even when writing about people they might feel they know, they discover things they don't know. a lot of writing seems to be based on this idea. like if you took a synopsis it would be easy to dismiss but the discoveries within are more than the subject might suggest. there are interesting things in every life.

i feel like "write what you don't know" is as valuable or maybe moreso than "write what you know" - i'm not sure fiction writing is ever done from a position of knowledge and comfort and confidence, but i don't know.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 1 August 2016 20:43 (two years ago) Permalink

you can totally be narrow and achieve a lot but you have to be really talented and compelling and interesting and you should know that narrow space you live in like the back of your hand.

write what you don't know is definitely valuable. that's why i like sci-fi. i wish all the normal nerds of lit fic would read more sci-fi.

i just like being in good hands. reading those ferrante books was so cool because i was in such good hands. she totally owns her world. no hesitancy. no fraidy-cat self-consciousness. it's law. not a tentative stab at some vaguely interesting insight about some vaguely interesting subject that someone read about in the new yorker or the new york times.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 21:51 (two years ago) Permalink

i might even go so far as to say that i don't trust a writer who says there is something dangerous to write about. but i am glad that he's not planning to go all tom wolfe on the race issue...

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 21:53 (two years ago) Permalink

i wish all the normal nerds of lit fic would read more sci-fi.

this seems like a weird thing to say, i feel like all the major lit fic people now have read a lot of SF and have that as part of their world, while this is less true of last century's big white novelists like Roth/Bellow/Updike

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 1 August 2016 21:57 (two years ago) Permalink

maybe they didn't read the right sci-fi books...

i don't think people should be looking at the U.S. for fiction now anyway. ain't no ferrantes around these parts as far as i can see. i'm not really the best judge though. since i'm usually hanging out with the out of print moldy figs.

scott seward, Monday, 1 August 2016 22:34 (two years ago) Permalink

I think it is telling, though, that franzen basically isn't interested in black people or their experiences. He doesnt need to write about them, and im sure hed do a shoddy job if he did, but it seems as though he gives not 1 shit.

🐸a hairy howling toad torments a man whose wife is deathly ill (James Morrison), Monday, 1 August 2016 23:50 (two years ago) Permalink

It's a pretty shocking revelation, a bombshell even.

a charisma-free shitlord (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:14 (two years ago) Permalink

Indeed. Though the idea that you can only write about what you have loved explains why franzen can write so much about himself and people just like him.

🐸a hairy howling toad torments a man whose wife is deathly ill (James Morrison), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:20 (two years ago) Permalink

blink·ered
ˈbliNGkərd
adjective
(of a horse) wearing blinders.
having or showing a limited outlook.
"a small-minded, blinkered approach"
synonyms: narrow-minded, inward-looking, parochial, provincial, insular, small-minded, close-minded, shortsighted; hidebound, illiberal, inflexible, entrenched, prejudiced

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:34 (two years ago) Permalink

which is different than being in a narrow space. zane grey and the ventures were really cool. so were p.g. wodehouse and j.j. cale.

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:36 (two years ago) Permalink

how did this thread get so far w/o anyone making the 'he cant write effectively about white ppl either' joke?>?

( ^_^) (Lamp), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:37 (two years ago) Permalink

I really do not understand the mindset which suggests that a contemporary writer has a duty to cover all major social issues. Should he be taken to task for failing to address creation science being taught in schools next?

MatthewK, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:57 (two years ago) Permalink

Are the characters in his books explicitly described as white? Are the experiences they have not available to people of other races?

calstars, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 01:07 (two years ago) Permalink

franzen basically isn't interested in black people or their experiences.

I guess I don't see this. I presume he's plenty interested in black people and their experiences -- how can you live in the United States and not be? But he doesn't feel qualified to write about them.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 01:39 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

jfc

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DsEjOJHXQAAjW3o.jpg

mookieproof, Thursday, 15 November 2018 20:43 (three weeks ago) Permalink

He would get along just fine with Springsteen

calstars, Thursday, 15 November 2018 21:07 (three weeks ago) Permalink

the only thing worse than a temporarily embarrassed millionaire is a permanently embarrassed millionaire

the Stanley Kubrick of testicular torsion (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 15 November 2018 21:18 (three weeks ago) Permalink

there are ways to become truly poor, you know

President Keyes, Thursday, 15 November 2018 21:21 (three weeks ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.