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Freedom
JONATHAN FRANZEN

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
1367 reviews (2010) (576p)
National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction Finalist
New York Times® Best Fiction Books
TIME Magazine Best Fiction Books
LA Times Book Prize for Fiction
Amazon.com Best Books
ALA Notable Books - Fiction Finalist

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Book Description

Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul—the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter—environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man—she was doing her small part to build a better world.

But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz—outré rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival—still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbor," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?

In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.


Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, August 2010: "The awful thing about life is this:" says Octave to the Marquis in Renoir's Rules of the Game. "Everyone has his reasons." That could be a motto for novelists as well, few more so than Jonathan Franzen, who seems less concerned with creating merely likeable characters than ones who are fully alive, in all their self-justifying complexity. Freedom is his fourth novel, and, yes, his first in nine years since The Corrections. Happy to say, it's very much a match for that great book, a wrenching, funny, and forgiving portrait of a Midwestern family (from St. Paul this time, rather than the fictional St. Jude). Patty and Walter Berglund find each other early: a pretty jock, focused on the court and a little lost off it, and a stolid budding lawyer, besotted with her and almost burdened by his integrity. They make a family and a life together, and, over time, slowly lose track of each other. Their stories align at times with Big Issues--among them mountaintop removal, war profiteering, and rock'n'roll--and in some ways can't be separated from them, but what you remember most are the characters, whom you grow to love the way families often love each other: not for their charm or goodness, but because they have their reasons, and you know them. --Tom Nissley


Other Award Winning Books by Jonathan Franzen
Purity by Jonathan Franzen
871 reviews (2015) (576p) (Amazon Top10Lit) (NYT100) (WP Top10) (Amazon Top100) (Amazon) (Booklist)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
1415 reviews (2001) (592p) (PP) (NBCCA) (NBA) (PF) (NYTimes) (LATimes) (TIME) (Amazon) (ALA)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Jonathan Franzen Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 7  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 2  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 The Corrections ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 2 The Corrections · Freedom ·  
National Book Award Wins 1 The Corrections ·  
National Book Award Nominations 1 The Corrections ·  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 1 The Corrections ·  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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