FREEDOM Finally Arrives

Last week, a whopping two weeks ahead of next Tuesday’s release of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, reviewers broke ranks to be among the first to deliver their verdicts on his tale of an upper-middle class Midwestern family. (Michiko Kakutani at the New York Times was first out of the gate, calling it “an indelible portrait of our times,” followed by the NYTBR cover review dubbing it “a masterpiece,” while Franzen himself appeared on the cover of Time.)

This week, it was a People pick, but Entertainment Weekly gives it a somewhat less stellar “A-“:

Freedom isn’t flawless: [the wife’s] journal reads more like Franzen than his character, and he gets sidetracked by quirky tangents. But this is a deep dive into a fascinating family that feels very real, and fully grounded in our time.

A backlash also began this week, with novelists Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner charging in an interview in the Huffington Post that.

…it’s a very old and deep-seated double standard that holds that when a man writes about family and feelings, it’s literature with a capital L, but when a woman considers the same topics, it’s romance, or a beach book – in short, it’s something unworthy of a serious critic’s attention.

Next week will bring the book itself, at last. Unsurprisingly, holds are  growing (though they’re not nearly as high as those for a certain YA dystopian novel).

Freedom: A Novel
Jonathan Franzen
Retail Price: $28.00
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2010-08-31)
ISBN / EAN: 0374158460 / 9780374158460

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