Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Former Book And Then Some

Last Sunday Eileen Weiner reviewed the new Jonathan Franzen novel, "Purity", in the books section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
I read the review, probably because I read all of the book reviews, even for books I don't ever plan on reading.  Sometimes a review changes my mind and I do pick up something I normally wouldn't have.  In the case of Jonathan Franzen, though, I doubt that will happen.  See, I don't hate on him quite like some people do, especially women (and I am a woman).  No, I just don't see what all the fuss is about where his writing is concerned.  All of this colossal and storied talent, the greatest writer maybe EVER.  My God, I tried three times to slog through his 2001 novel, "The Corrections" and I just couldn't manage to not set it down at some point and then not pick it back up.  It didn't anger me, in fact it didn't elicit much a response at all beyond a pervasive sense of ennui.  Since I didn't want that to morph into a full-blown malaise, I sold the book on and was done with it.
But, of course, you are never done with Franzen, are you?  Every so often he emerges from his writer's cocoon with some bit of offensive brilliance and the whole literary world is literally on fire!  The supporters and detractors line up, face off, each side completely unmovable in their thinking....and on and on it goes.  It's tedium wed to madness, which isn't that far removed from an apt description of Franzen as a whole.
I must say that I enjoy the dust up at first, but then, since I don't read his work anyway, and don't know him personally, it's becoming old hat.  This tiresome dance, the Franzen box-step, is not worth the bother anymore.

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