It’s Franzenfreude Day

For an author leery of publicity (he famously turned down an invitation from Oprah), Jonathan Franzen is already in the middle of a maelstrom for his book that is just releasing today. New reviews (yes, there are a few outlets that have held off until pub day) begin with an obligatory rundown of the Time cover, the NYT coverage and the backlash. NPR’s All Things Considered ran a story last night about the hasthtag #Franzenfreude which has been serving as Twitter outlet for those who believe all this coverage is representative of a prejudice towards male writers (as Jennifer Weiner put it in the Huffington Post, “…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.”)

USA Today, reviewing the book on the day of pub, neatly avoids those accusations by comparing Franzen to a female writer,

What Franzen does so well here — and only Lionel Shriver, in this year’s brilliant health care satire So Much for That, is his equal — is marry rich, absorbing storytelling with incisive social commentary.

Ron Charles, who reviewed the book in print for the Washington Post last week, morphs into  “your totally hip video book reviewer” for a second look.

Comments are closed.