Friday, October 27, 2006

sympathies all around

Finished reading a week back - and recommending, THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen.

The book is a tour de force, "a vivid reading experience of tremendous texture and dimension, a masterwork of observed detail. It's not always likable, but it's real."

Most astounding is the ability of Franzen to get into the skin of each character, in turn, and show the reader their world (including that of a 75 year old with Parkinson's and dementia) and leave no room as to the validity of their world view; and then get into the skin of the next character and make the earlier character seem villainous, unbalanced, or quite mad. Alternately, to show them up in all their confusion and weaknesses when in their skin and when outside, as specimens of normalcy and amiability.

In other words, he accomplishes the feat of creating characters as complex as human beings really are.

1 comment:

Raghu Karnad said...

And its guaranteed to put a smile on your face, too!

My one claim to fame is that Jonathan Franzen spoke at my graduation, when I gave the valedictory address. Afterwards, he told me I should write.

"Oh really?" I slavered over him, "Coming from you, that endorsement means a lot!!"
"Its not an endorsement," he sneered at me, "Its just an idea."
He's a real prick.