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The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History

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The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History Cover

ISBN13: 9780312426408
ISBN10: 0312426402
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
 
The Discomfort Zone is Jonathan Franzens  tale of growing up, squirming in his own über-sensitive skin, from a “small and fundamentally ridiculous person,” into an adult with strong inconvenient passions. Whether hes writing about the explosive dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the 1970s, the effects of Kafkas fiction on his protracted quest to lose his virginity, or the web of connections between bird watching, his all-consuming marriage, and the problem of global warming, Franzen is always feelingly engaged with the world we live in now. The Discomfort Zone is a wise, funny, and gorgeously written self-portrait by one of Americas finest writers.
-Jonathan Franzen is the author of The Corrections, winner of the 2001 National Book Award for fiction; the novels The Twenty-Seventh City and Strong Motion; and a collection of essays, How to Be Alone, all published by FSG. He lives in New York City.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
 
As Jonathan Franzen tells it, he was the king of boy who was afraid of spiders, school dances, urinals, music teachers, boomerangs, popular girls—and his parents. He had nothing against geeky kids except a desperate fear of being taken for one of them, a fate that would result in instant Social Death. Approaching puberty the way a fraud artist confronts a particularly tough scam, he pretended to be a kid who didn't enjoy doing calculations on his new six-function Texas Instruments calculator.
 
The Discomfort Zone is Franzen's intimate memoir of growing up squirming in his own über-sensitive skin, from a "small and fundamentally ridiculous person," through a strangely happy adolescence, into an adult with strong and inconvenient passions. His story cascades from moments of high drama into multilayered fields of sometimes truculent, sometimes piercing, always entertaining investigation and insight. Whether he's writing about the explosive dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the 1970s, the effects of Kafka's fiction on his own protracted quest to lose his virginity, or the web of connections between bird-watching, his all-consuming marriage, and the problem of global warming, Franzen is always feeling engaged with the world we live in now. His personal history of a Midwestern youth and a New York adulthood is warmed by the same blend of comic scrutiny and affection that characterizes his fiction; the result is a portrait of a unique American heart and mind.
"The strong chapters are impossibly articulate and true. And like the born novelist that he is, Franzen keeps operating under the sign of ambivalence. We get both battling personas in The Discomfort Zone: the ironic Easterner and the upright Midwesterner. Long may they prosper!"—James Marcus, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The strong chapters are impossibly articulate and true. And like the born novelist that he is, Franzen keeps operating under the sign of ambivalence. We get both battling personas in The Discomfort Zone: the ironic Easterner and the upright Midwesterner. Long may they prosper!"—James Marcus, Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
"At once elegiac and unsentimental, mornful and joyful, [The Discomfort Zone] offers the most intimate glimpse into the author's interior life."—Dan Cryer, The Boston Globe
 
"[Franzen] takes experiences from his life . . . feeds them through the mixing board of his prodigious insight, and produces some beautiful music."—Bob Ivry, The Washington Post
 
"Franzen succeeds most neatly . . . he speaks only too directly to a generation of baby-boomers who live in umcomfortable conflict with the thrifty, hardworking, self-sacrificing values of their parents' generation."—Marjorie Kehe, The Christian Science Monitor
 
"Franzen is most assuredly a fine stylist. There are whole passages of this book that sing with absolutely gorgeous prose, wielded with a magnificent sense of control."—John Freeman, The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
"Finely drawn, exquisitely expressed portraits . . . related in typically lyrical Franzen prose . . . readers will be glad they came along."—Dale Singer, St. Louis Post Dispatch
 
"An uncommonly well-written memoir. . . Franzen is a beautiful stylist."—Heller McAlpin, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
 
"An intriguing collection of personal essays . . .  Franzen is too brilliant to have had a normal childhood."—Cheryl Reed, The Chicago Sun-Times
 
"After winning the National Book Award in fiction for The Corrections, Franzen has proven himself to be an exceptionally engaging essayist, first in How to Be Alone and now in this cycle of magnetizing meditations on family and culture, love and death, art and nature. A consummate storyteller, Franzen possesses a low-key, even sheepish sense of humor rooted in his middle-class Midwest upbringing . . . This gratifyingly unpredictable and finely crafted collection ends with a tour de force, 'My Bird Problem,' a thoughtful, wry, and edgy musing on marital bliss and misery, global warming, the wonder of birds, and our halfhearted effort to protect the environment."—Donna Seaman, Booklist
 
"In this entertaining portrait of the artist as a young geek, Franzen is as offhand about his geekdom and failures as he is about his talents and successes. He retraces his childhood resistance to his parents' way of life as he became a rebel in his own cause. He confesses that he has become a bird-watcher as an adult; he is like an interesting variety of one of the birds that he enjoys finding. Even while describing his personal oddities and those in the people around him, he finds awkward beauty in their quirks and imperfections. The book begins and ends with the death of his mother. Their difficult relationship is one of many he examines. He is a human watcher willing to report in detail on behavior, whether that of his parents, loved ones, or himself. As he studies who he has been and who he is now, Franzen discovers truths about the world around him. This is a world in which many teens find themselves, and seeing the ways the author navigates and survives can entertain and comfort while offering assistance in the process of self-discovery."—Will Marston, Berkeley Public Library, Berkeley, California, School Library Journal
 
"National Book Award–winner Franzen's first foray into memoir begins and ends with his mother's death in Franzen's adulthood. In between, he takes a sarcastic, humorous and intimate look at the painful awkwardness of adolescence. As a young observer rather than a participant, Franzen offers a fresh take on the sometimes tumultuous, sometimes uneventful America of the 1960s and '70s . . . While Franzen's family was unmarked by significant tragedy, the common yet painful contradictions of growing up are at the heart of this wonderful book (parts of which appeared in the New Yorker): "You're miserable and ashamed if you don't believe your adolescent troubles matter, but you're stupid if you do."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Synopsis:

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
 
The Discomfort Zone is Jonathan Franzens  tale of growing up, squirming in his own über-sensitive skin, from a “small and fundamentally ridiculous person,” into an adult with strong inconvenient passions. Whether hes writing about the explosive dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the 1970s, the effects of Kafkas fiction on his protracted quest to lose his virginity, or the web of connections between bird watching, his all-consuming marriage, and the problem of global warming, Franzen is always feelingly engaged with the world we live in now. The Discomfort Zone is a wise, funny, and gorgeously written self-portrait by one of Americas finest writers.

Synopsis:

This book delivers the intimate memoir of Franzens growth from a "small and fundamentally ridiculous person," through an excruciating and strangely happy adolescence, and into his adult life with embarrassing and unexpected passions.

About the Author

Jonathan Franzen is the author of The Corrections, winner of the 2001 National Book Award for fiction; the novels The Twenty-Seventh City and Strong Motion; and a collection of essays, How to Be Alone. He lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

timmothy, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by timmothy)
Although this is a re-read for me, this is still the best book I read in 2011. Considering the number of National Book Awards and Booker Prizes that were included in the year's reading list, this offers some considerable token of my esteem of Franzen as a wordsmith of both novels and nonfiction.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312426408
Author:
Franzen, Jonathan
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
BIO026000
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20070831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.89 x 4.86 x 0.57 in

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Biography » Literary
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The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History Used Trade Paper
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Picador USA - English 9780312426408 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
 
The Discomfort Zone is Jonathan Franzens  tale of growing up, squirming in his own über-sensitive skin, from a “small and fundamentally ridiculous person,” into an adult with strong inconvenient passions. Whether hes writing about the explosive dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the 1970s, the effects of Kafkas fiction on his protracted quest to lose his virginity, or the web of connections between bird watching, his all-consuming marriage, and the problem of global warming, Franzen is always feelingly engaged with the world we live in now. The Discomfort Zone is a wise, funny, and gorgeously written self-portrait by one of Americas finest writers.
"Synopsis" by , This book delivers the intimate memoir of Franzens growth from a "small and fundamentally ridiculous person," through an excruciating and strangely happy adolescence, and into his adult life with embarrassing and unexpected passions.
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