I read Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom last year and I loved it. It was a semi satirical look at the 2000s (refuse to use the term ‘noughties’) following on from The Corrections which was an acerbic look at the 1990s.
Funnily enough I have just finished The Corrections having read them in reverse order and while Freedom jaunts you along and engages you with its complex characters, I found The Corrections tough going. Partly I think this is the problem with novels where the characters are all deeply unlikeable, flawed is acceptable but downright annoying – not so much.
So while there are some huge similarities among the characters in both books and there is no denying that Franzen’s writing is excellent, Freedom just seems more mature and less angry. On the topic of angry, this is something that Franzen apparently does well with suitable vitriol.
His latest rants were focused on Twitter recently which he described as the “the ultimate irresponsible medium.” Predictably a backlash on Twitter ensued with a hashtag created #jonathanfranzenhates, as a way of documenting the acclaimed authors’ many peeves. So far he’s been playfully cited as hating Tang (“It’s just Orange Juice being dishonest”), cameras (because “real pictures should be painted”), and people who hate Jar Jar Binks (“just to be difficult”).
So it will be interesting to see what the author comes up with next. He is a hugely talented writer who seems to be most comfortable writing about the current zeitgeist so will a lambasting of social media which has come to dominate much of our society be next on the cards with Jar Jar Binks as the central character…?