Tues., Aug. 31 - Head to 41st Book Cafe in Capitola, CA, to hear Jonathan Franzen reading from FREEDOM only to discover the launch date is tonight, Wed., Sept. 1. So buy the novel anyway ($28.00!) and head home... by the time I reach page 70 I'm asking myself, "How much more do I have to read of this before I don't have to read anymore?" Cover feature story in TIME MAGAZINE on Franzen and his new book, FREEDOM. And NY Times featured Franzen in its Sunday Book Review Section. Lavish praise all around. What am I missing? I'm not exactly bored, but genuinely disappointed... will read 30 more pages and then decide. In all honesty, if I had simply picked it up at the bookstore knowing nothing of the author or THE CORRECTIONS, his previous book, I'd have set it down after a few moments.
It's that section starting on p. 27, MISTAKES WERE MADE, "Autobiography of Patty Berglund by Patty Berglund (Composed at Her Therapist's Suggestion)" that loses me. It's Jonathan Franzen writing in a woman's voice (i.e., Patty Berglund) and that's just it. It's Jonathan Franzen writing in a woman's voice. I hear Franzen more than I hear Patty Berglund. It feels like "backstory," the practice one does when one is trying to get into the voice of a particular character, the writing one does before the main event.
Pick it up again this morning. I know there are some Big Themes I'm missing... only wish I cared a little more about Walter and Patty and Eliza. Only a little over 400 pages to go. I'm filled with suspense. Am I gonna make it?
Causes Robert Sward Supports
Audubon Society, National Geographic, "Green," the Environment, SPCA...