Jonathan Franzen 'considered adopting Iraqi orphan to figure out young people'. [The Guardian]
In a setup that would not look out of place in fiction, Jonathan Franzen, the bestselling American novelist, has said he once considered adopting an Iraqi war orphan to help him understand young people better, but was persuaded against it by his editor. Franzen said he was in his late 40s at the time with a thriving career and a good relationship but he felt angry with the younger generation. “Oh, it was insane, the idea that Kathy [his partner] and I were going to adopt an Iraqi war orphan. The whole idea lasted maybe six weeks.”[more inside]
He also convincingly pitches Gaddis as an exemplar of what Thoreau called “the memorable interval” between “the language heard” and “the language read,” which he describes as “a reserved and select expression” that is “too significant to be heard by the ear, which we must be born again in order to speak.” This is a beautiful reiteration of how Gaddis’ novels, which sometimes contain nothing but dialogue for pages on end, echo the idea that “America itself can be regarded as nothing more, or less, than the speech of Americans.” --Jonathon Sturgeon reviews Joseph Tabbi's new biography of William Gaddis [more inside]
Carbon Capture by Jonathan Franzen [New Yorker] Has climate change made it harder for people to care about conservation?
And so I came to feel miserably conflicted about climate change. I accepted its supremacy as the environmental issue of our time, but I felt bullied by its dominance. Not only did it make every grocery-store run a guilt trip; it made me feel selfish for caring more about birds in the present than about people in the future. What were the eagles and the condors killed by wind turbines compared with the impact of rising sea levels on poor nations? What were the endemic cloud-forest birds of the Andes compared with the atmospheric benefits of Andean hydroelectric projects?
Jonathon Franzen doesn't just hate ebooks - he thinks they are having a detrimental effect on the world. [more inside]
"Freedom" by Jonthan Franzen: is one of the most hyped, most anticipated literary novel in years and it goes on sale today. Jonathan Franzen's new book Freedom is being hailed as "The Tolstoy of the Internet Era" [slate]. "The novel of the century" [guardian]. "a novel that turns out to be both a compelling biography of a dysfunctional family and an indelible portrait of our times." [nytimes] "Jonathan Franzen: one of America's greatest living novelists?" [telegraph] Jonathan Franzen is best known for his award winning book The Corrections [nytimes]. Maybe you're wondering why his name is familiar, [Oprah Book Club sticker incident].
Jonathan Franzen makes a video partially about why he doesn't like making videos.
In her essay, The Naked and the Conflicted, Katie Roiphe compares the directly sexual writing of Roth, Mailer, and Updike with the more timid approach adopted by America's new batch of male novelists. "We denounce the Great Male Novelists of the last century for their sexism. But something has been lost now that innocence is more fashionable than virility, the cuddle preferable to sex." [SLNYT]
Le Conversazioni: Last summer a group of writers including David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Franzen, and Jeffrey Eugenides gathered on the Isle of Capri to discuss language and identity. This year's lineup includes Ethan Coen, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Claire Messud, and Chuck Palahniuk.
'Runaway': Alice's Wonderland Knockout of a book review by wonderful writer about a marvelous author: "JONATHAN FRANZEN I want to circle around Alice Munro's latest marvel, "Runaway," by taking some guesses at why her excellence so dismayingly exceeds her fame."
2001 National Book Award Finalists Awards tonight in New York mc's by Steve Martin. Will Franzen win despite the raging controversy? Pick the winners, anyone? Any good ones left out?
Trouble brewing in the Oprah Book Club. So Jonathan Franzen's critically-acclaimed "The Corrections" is selected by Oprah for her book club - meaning hundreds of thousands in sales, increased publicity, etc. He says "no thanks, you schmaltzy, woman-pandering, literary-wannabe hack." Well, not exactly... (nyt link)