Darin, September 24, 2011 (view all comments by Darin)
Take one hypercontrolling mother, a depressed, Parkinson-stricken father, and three adult children who are, in turn, depressed and materialistic, juvenile to a fault, and unsure of their place in the world. Add a satirical wit that aims for, and often hits, the jugular. Throw in enough observations on what "family" means at the end of the 20th century in America and you get this brilliantly realized, devastatingly funny, yet tender at times, account of the Lambert family of the fictional Upper Midwestern city of St. Jude. Never before has Tolstoy's famous line from Anna Karenina, "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," so riotously applied. It's a coming-of-middle-and-old-age story. I highly recommend this for those adults coming to realize how similar they are to their parents and anyone seeking a hysterical portrait of an American family.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Matthew Holley, January 31, 2010 (view all comments by Matthew Holley)
Easily the best book I read this decade...even though I read it nearly a decade ago! I remember being amazed by Franzen's writing, but not to the point of being distracted from the story: mesmerizing, surprising and very touching. Of course, we're all still waiting for Franzen's fiction follow-up...here's to hoping it comes to us in THIS decade!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
567 p. pages
Farrar, Straus and Giroux -
"Review A Day"
by Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com,
"The Corrections is a lumpy, strange, singular work, very much of this moment even as it harks back to a kind of American novel long deemed extinct. Its portrayal of American family life sometimes seems cruel and unforgiving, yet the sheer amplitude of its vision implies a kind of sympathy, or at least understanding." (read the entire Salon review)
by David Gates, The New York Times Book Review,
"No one book, of course, can provide everything we want in a novel. But a book as strong as The Corrections seems ruled only by its own self-generated aesthetic: it creates the illusion of giving a complete account of a world, and while we're under its enchantment it temporarily eclipses whatever else we may have read."
by Michael Cunningham,
"In its complexity, its scrutinizing and utterly unsentimental humanity, and its grasp of the subtle relationships between domestic drama and global events, The Corrections stands in the company of Mann's Buddenbrooks and DeLillo's White Noise. It is a major accomplishment."
by Booklist (starred review),
"Ferociously detailed, gratifyingly mind-expanding, and daringly complex and unhurried, New Yorker writer Franzen's third and best-yet novel aligns the spectacular dysfunctions of one Midwest family with the explosive malfunctions of society-at-large."
by Pat Conroy,
"Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections is the brightest, boldest, and most ambitious novel I've read in many years. With this dazzling work, Franzen gives notice that from now on, he is only going to hunt with the big cats."
by Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times,
"By turns funny and corrosive, portentous and affecting, The Corrections not only shows us two generations of an American family struggling to make sense of their lives, but also cracks open a window on a sullen country lurching its way toward the millennium."
by Philadelphia Inquirer,
"Let's not mince words or pussyfoot with fancy lit-crit lingo. This is a great book. It needs to be read....A panoramic work that frequently zeroes in, with almost claustrophobic clarity, on human foibles....A huge, ambitious, powerful, funny, imaginative yet realistic novel. This book is a gift."
by Boston Globe,
"Smart and boisterous and beautifully paced....His rendering [of the autumnal prairie of millennial America] is frighteningly, luminously authentic."
by The Oregonian,
"Remarkable....The best comparisons are to David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and Don DeLillo's Underworld...but The Corrections has more heart."
"The last 100 pages of The Corrections is an unforgettably sad, indelibly beautiful piece of literature....[Franzen] is a writer with talent to burn."
by GQ magazine,
"More engaging and readable than other chilly magnum opuses in the same league....Unlike his Big Book peers, [Franzen] wants things tidy not in the middle, maybe, but at the end. The chaos-theory math wizards of antimatter fiction don't often show such good manners, such politeness, and it's touching to find it here. Not just dazzle warmth."
"What we're asking is whether Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections will become that rare thing, a literary work that everybody's reading? A lot of people are saying yes."
Winner of the National Book Award
After almost fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing spectacularly at his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain of an affair with a married man-or so her mother fears. Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to, Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.