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The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

I think that i read this book a while ago and didn't get it then because it was so long ago. I really liked Franzen's new novel, so I picked this one up again and it was all right.

The novel is about the Lambert family - mom, dad (Enid and Alfred), and three children - tow boys (Chip and Gary) and a daughter (Denise).  The novel starts out telling Chip's story - he is the middle child and a PhD who lost his tenure track position after conducting an affair with one of his (really) young students.  He then decides to head to Lithuania to participate in a company that steals money from people by convincing them to invest in the newly blossoming country. We also meet Gary - the eldest - who has the most conventional life. He works for a bank, is married to a beautiful and smart woman and has three children.  But we learn that his marriage is absolutely miserable, with both he and his wife conducting warfare and making their children pawns in the process. We also meet Denise, who is a chef in high demand in Philadelphia. Enid is caught in a love triangle, with her at the point - between herself, her boss and his wife.  Enid and Alfred are their parents. Alfred is beginning to suffer the ravages of age, including dementia and adult underwear. Enid actually is the character that ties everything together by trying to convince all her children to come home for one last Christmas together in the house.

I just wasn't all that impressed by this novel, in spite of the hype (and there was apparently hype associated with this novel when it came out). There are too many loose strings that were tied up in such a way that I thought that Franzen was like "OH! I totally forgot - I have to DO something with that storyline." But there are also loose ends that remain dangling in the wind. I don't know if Gary and his wife split up. Or what happens with Diane and her relationship issues.  I DID love the writing style itself.  IT was very wordy and thick and I really like that sort of style - it's a style that you can really sink your teeth into. Franzen has a mastery of the language that very few authors have. 

Get it out of the library if you want to read it but don't add it to your library.


  1. I, too, read this because I loved his newest novel, Freedom, so much. I actually did like The Corrections very much. Not quite as good as Freedom, but good, I thought. I love Franzen's writing style!


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