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Jonathan Franzen Backlash Thread - Page 4

post #46 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrogant Bastard View Post
Where's it from? I want to track down the person who wrote it and smack him in the special place where Franzen touched him.

It's from Nicole Krauss (about To the End of the Land by David Grossman) and you're more than welcome to smack her on behalf of me.
post #47 of 66
I took a course in college and we were assigned "the Discomfort Zone" and also had Franzen come into our class and speak regarding the book and his writing career which seems cool in hindsight now that he is well-known. Seemed like a nice enough guy and the book was half-decent. Don't hate on the guy, at least people are acknowledging something other than romance novels and vampire sagas.
post #48 of 66
I have to revive this thread. I, too, find it so damn annoying that everywhere I turn people (and respectable literary institutions, mind you) are singing Freedom's praises. What a shitty book. Franzen sucks. He's a pretentious, arrogant prick. And a crappy author.
post #49 of 66
I bought The Corrections lately and was looking forward to reading it because of it's acclaim. Of course I picked it up because I wanted to start reading more fiction, and it was on some "new classics" list, and I didn't want to put more time into researching what to read than that. For the Frantzen haters: Who/what should I be reading rather than this?
post #50 of 66


Quote:
Originally Posted by sartorialism View Post
I have to revive this thread. I, too, find it so damn annoying that everywhere I turn people (and respectable literary institutions, mind you) are singing Freedom's praises. What a shitty book. Franzen sucks. He's a pretentious, arrogant prick. And a crappy author.
post #51 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian278 View Post
I bought The Corrections lately and was looking forward to reading it because of it's acclaim. Of course I picked it up because I wanted to start reading more fiction, and it was on some "new classics" list, and I didn't want to put more time into researching what to read than that.

For the Frantzen haters: Who/what should I be reading rather than this?

If The Corrections is anything like Freedom, I'd say read anything rather than this.
post #52 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverrun View Post
So they're printing the corrections over the weekend?

I love a good pun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennglock View Post
Among a certain crowd-- left-leaning, with an interest in the arts but limited aptitude (sound like any mainstream book critics?) -- stuff like Franzen is always going to be extremely popular. It's the literature of recognition. They find in its pages everything they already know about themselves and their worldview, and get to feel clever and congratulated as they share the moment with an author expressing their thoughts with an eloquence they wish they possessed.

There's certainly a lot of truth in these words. That said, I can take it. Franzen writes characters that I see a lot of myself in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian278 View Post
I bought The Corrections lately and was looking forward to reading it because of it's acclaim. Of course I picked it up because I wanted to start reading more fiction, and it was on some "new classics" list, and I didn't want to put more time into researching what to read than that.

For the Frantzen haters: Who/what should I be reading rather than this?

Brian, I hope you read the book anyway. I found it to be quite funny and one of the most enjoyable books I've read in the past few years.

I'm sure I'll get taken to town for saying such things, but I think that to appreciate his writing you need to be able to appreciate a dry and subtle sense of humor. If you cannot, then the jokes and the references aren't funny. I'm sure for many they're still not funny.
post #53 of 66
You know what sucks worse than Jonathan Franzen? Okay, nothing. But Jonathan Franzen caricatured cartoons are close.
post #54 of 66
In 30 years the SF intelligentsia (lol) will remember Franzen exactly the same way the current generation "remembers" Hemingway.
post #55 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by holymadness View Post
In 30 years the SF intelligentsia (lol) will remember Franzen exactly the same way the current generation "remembers" Hemingway.
Please excuse my ignorance, but how does the current generation "remember" Hemingway?
post #56 of 66
According to the posters in this thread, as a touchstone of literary genius, apparently.
post #57 of 66
Thread Starter 
Since when has "reflecting society" become the hallmark of literary genius, btw? That seems to be the sole criterion on which every Franzen apologist has hung his hat. And that's it. "I see a lot of myself in his characters" is a point made anywhere from here to Kakutani. Who gives a rat's ass? It's not enough to depict society in an accurate way; you need to have something novel (no pun intended) or profound to say about it. In that latter sense, Franzen falls fairly short.

Someone earlier in this thread made a comment about the "literature of recognition." Very true, in this case.
post #58 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Carlos View Post
Since when has "reflecting society" become the hallmark of literary genius, btw? That seems to be the sole criterion on which every Franzen apologist has hung his hat. And that's it. "I see a lot of myself in his characters" is a point made anywhere from here to Kakutani. Who gives a rat's ass? It's not enough to depict society in an accurate way; you need to have something novel (no pun intended) or profound to say about it. In that latter sense, Franzen falls fairly short.

Someone earlier in this thread made a comment about the "literature of recognition." Very true, in this case.
You say who gives a rat's ass. I say I do. Often times I look at my life and wonder how did I get to a certain mindset or place in my life. I believe that reading about a character that has many of the qualities that I see in myself helps me to understand that better. To see what an author does in terms of seeing how other characters think of that person and treat that person helps me to understand what others might think of me or why some people act the way they do towards me. Does this mean that it gives me genuine insight into those around me? No, but it certainly helps me to rationalize it.
post #59 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Carlos View Post
Since when has "reflecting society" become the hallmark of literary genius, btw? That seems to be the sole criterion on which every Franzen apologist has hung his hat. And that's it. "I see a lot of myself in his characters" is a point made anywhere from here to Kakutani. Who gives a rat's ass? It's not enough to depict society in an accurate way; you need to have something novel (no pun intended) or profound to say about it. In that latter sense, Franzen falls fairly short. Someone earlier in this thread made a comment about the "literature of recognition." Very true, in this case.
I don't see any substance in this critique beyond the vagaries of "he's overhyped" and "boo Oprah book club." I would be surprised if you've read Freedom, because if so I might be learning what it is you didn't like about the novel instead of reading generalizations that can be applied to anybody.
post #60 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by holymadness View Post
I don't see any substance in this critique beyond the vagaries of "he's overhyped" and "boo Oprah book club." I would be surprised if you've read Freedom, because if so I might be learning what it is you didn't like about the novel instead of reading generalizations that can be applied to anybody.
In his defense, I think his critique is more aimed at me than at Franzen himself. He believes that for somebody (in this case, me) to say that Franzen is valuable because he creates characters that others can see parts of themselves in, is not unique or special. To be special you have to do that first part and then say something about it. I believe that creating such characters and then sarcastically referring to their idiosyncrasies you are saying something about it.
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