Title: How to Be Alone: Essays
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Publication Date: 2002
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 1st Edition
This is a hardcover first edition (fifth printing) of Franzen's excellent collection of essays, published shortly after his third novel, The Corrections. It is signed by the author with his typical scrawl. Bookseller Inventory # 003289
Synopsis: Passionate, strong-minded nonfiction from the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections
Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections was the best-loved and most-written-about novel of 2001. Nearly every in-depth review of it discussed what became known as "The Harper's Essay," Franzen's controversial 1996 investigation of the fate of the American novel. This essay is reprinted for the first time in How to be Alone, along with the personal essays and the dead-on reportage that earned Franzen a wide readership before the success of The Corrections. Although his subjects range from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each piece wrestles with familiar themes of Franzen's writing: the erosion of civic life and private dignity and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Recent pieces include a moving essay on his father's stuggle with Alzheimer's disease (which has already been reprinted around the world) and a rueful account of Franzen's brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author.
As a collection, these essays record what Franzen calls "a movement away from an angry and frightened isolation toward an acceptance--even a celebration--of being a reader and a writer." At the same time they show the wry distrust of the claims of technology and psychology, the love-hate relationship with consumerism, and the subversive belief in the tragic shape of the individual life that help make Franzen one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics.
Review: Jonathan Franzen is smart and brash, the kind of person you want as your social critic but not as a brother-in-law. Many of the 14 essays in How to Be Alone, by the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Corrections, first appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and elsewhere. A long, much-discussed rumination on the American novel, (newly) titled "Why Bother?," is included, as well as essays on privacy obsession, the U.S. post office, New York City, big tobacco, and new prisons. At his best, as in "My Father's Brain," a piece on his father's struggle with Alzheimer's, Franzen can make the ordinary world utterly riveting. But at times, it can be difficult to discern where Franzen stands on any particular subject, as he often takes both sides of an argument. Valid attempts to reflect ambiguity s! ometimes lead to obfuscation, especially in his essays on privacy and tobacco, although his belief that small-town America of years gone by offered the individual little privacy certainly rings true. Franzen can write with panache, as in this comment after he watched, without headphones, a TV show during a flight: "(It) became an exposé of the hydraulics of insincere smiles." A few of the shorter pieces appear to be filler. Franzen shines brightest when he gets edgy and a little angry, as in "The Reader in Exile": "Instead of Manassas battlefield, a historical theme park. Instead of organizing narratives, a map of the world as complex as the world itself. Instead of a soul, membership in a crowd. Instead of wisdom, data." --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca
This bookseller accepts the following methods of payment:
AbeBooks Bookseller Since: April 30, 2001
We accept Visa, Mastercard, and checks in US dollars. All sales are final.
Most of our items are periodicals rather than books; we also sell
subscriptions to our own publication. For all items EXCEPT
subscriptions, we charge the buyer for shipping via Priority Mail or
Overseas Airmail; this comes to $5 per item for domestic shipping and
$10 per item for foreign shipping. There are no shipping charges on
subscriptions. If you decide to write a check, you can simply calculate
what you owe us and m...
Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2.2 LB, or 1 KG. If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required.
Store Description: We are a quarterly literary magazine that sells our own back issues (all of them are available, since 1980), current subscriptions, and a few specially selected books signed by our writers.