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Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) (Hardcover)

by Jonathan Franzen

Recovery in Pieces: A Study of the Literature of 9/11 15

We can’t blame earnest authors for trying. It just wasn’t long enough ago yet.

Pitons in the Monolith: Jonathan Franzen's Despair and the Millennials' Dream 19

The crisis Franzen described 15 years ago this month would seem doubly urgent for today’s young writers, yet twentysomethings are entering the literary arena in droves. The question’s not “Why Bother?” but “What gives?”

How Avant Is It? Zadie Smith, Tom McCarthy, and the Novel's Way Forward 24

Huge claims have been made on behalf of the novelist Tom McCarthy. But what do they actually tell us about "the future of fiction?"

Are You, Or Have You Ever Been, a Jewish Writer? 16

We were called up, one after another, and allotted two minutes each.  They sat in front of us, mostly late-middle aged, mostly female, presumably Jewish, all of them with reading glasses and notebooks—the scariest possible bar mitzvah crowd, deciding whom to invite to speak to their particular audiences, in San Diego or Palm Springs or Shaker Heights.

Rats, Pigs, Foxes, and Eagles: T.C. Boyle's When the Killing's Done 4

Reporting out on California's Channel Islands, you could count on a day of freedom from yet another editorial whipping. Even more alluring, you could imagine all the histories that might have been.

The Big Show: Franzen, Goodman, and 'The Great American Novel' 19

The Cookbook Collector’s literary elegance is part of what made the book invisible to a broad public, while Franzen’s roaring crassness is part of what made his book such a smash.  He’s just a lot louder than she is.

2010 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalists Announced 5

The fiction list includes four books that have gotten quite a lot of attention over the last year

Cut and Dry: Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes 5

The first thing you have to do with Tree of Codes is figure out how to read it.

Most Anticipated: The Great 2011 Book Preview 59

8,000 words strong and encompassing 76 titles, it's the only 2011 book preview you will ever need.

A Year in Reading: Garth Risk Hallberg 2

The number of novelists with a claim to having published major work this year forms a kind of alphabet: Aira, Amis, Bolaño, Boyd, Carey, Cohen, Cunningam, Donoghue...

A Year in Reading: Lydia Kiesling 0

It disturbed me profoundly, and that has to count for something.

A Year In Reading: Jenny Davidson 11

Fifteen things about my year in reading.

A Year in Reading: Joanna Smith Rakoff 3

I found myself thinking about that long-ago interview—the advice he’d unknowingly doled out—and picking up some of the shorter novels on my bookshelves.

A Year in Marginalia: Sam Anderson 34

It's the most intimate, complete, and honest form of criticism possible.

A Year in Reading: Keith Gessen 1

I tend to read books in spurts.

The Art of Fiction No. 207: Jonathan Franzen 0

A Year in Reading: Dan Kois 5

Goddammit, I'm choosing Freedom.

A Year in Reading: Stephen Elliott 1

I will say this, it was not my best year for reading. It was a year where I read a lot of really good books but almost no great books.

The Soul-Sucking Suckiness of B.R. Myers 68

And so he whirled mirthlessly on, flourishing the word "prose" like a magic wand, working pale variations on his "Reader's Manifesto." Take that, Toni Morrison! In your face, Jonathan Franzen!

2010 National Book Award Finalists Announced 1

Four women and one man - a pair of international names, a 20 under 40'er and a pair of lesser known names - make up the fiction finalists.

In Praise of Unlikable Characters 25

Authors are too timid, it seems to me sometimes, in the face of the demand for conventionally sympathetic characters. “I didn’t like any of the characters” is a common Amazon reviewer’s refrain—or, I don’t know, maybe that’s just what they say about the books that I write. They say it like it’s a bad thing.

The View From Germany 9

On the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair, it's striking evidence of a literary trade imbalance that so many American books should be prominent in German buchhandlungs when so few German writers are available in English at all.

The Franzen Printing Error 0

Freedom Controversy, in Comic Form 0

Comparing Apples to BMWs: What Does it Mean to be a "Best Bookstore" Anyway? 8

Flavorwire’s list of the Top Ten Bookstores in the US was not supposed to piss me off, but that’s exactly what it did. It was supposed to be the sort of article you read and then forget about. Instead, I found myself dwelling on the thing and, well, getting pissed off.

Bulletin: Interview with Tom McCarthy, General Secretary, INS 8

This arboreal carnage seemed fitting, however, prior to a meeting with a man who teaches a class on Catastrophe, and who founded the International Necronautical Society, whose mission is to “map, enter, colonise and, eventually, inhabit” the space of death.