9780312422165

How to Be Alone: Essays

Franzen, Jonathan

ISBN 10: 0312422164 / 0-312-42216-4
ISBN 13: 9780312422165
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics

While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each one wrestles with the essential themes of Franzen's writing: the erosion of civil life and private dignity; and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Reprinted here for the first time is Franzen’s controversial l996 investigation of the fate of the American novel in what became known as "the Harper's essay," as well as his award-winning narrative of his father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease, and a rueful account of his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author.

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

Review

 

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How to be Alone (ISBN: 9780312422165)
Franzen, Jonathan
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Book Description: St Martin s Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised, Expanded. 211 x 141 mm. Brand New Book. From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each one wrestles with the essential themes of Franzen s writing: the erosion of civil life and private dignity; and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Reprinted here for the first time is Franzen s controversial l996 investigation of the fate of the American novel in what became known as the Harper s essay, as well as his award-winning narrative of his father s struggle with Alzheimer s disease, and a rueful account of his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780312422165

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Franzen, Jonathan
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ISBN 13: 9780312422165
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Book Description: St Martin s Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised, Expanded. 211 x 141 mm. Brand New Book. From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each one wrestles with the essential themes of Franzen s writing: the erosion of civil life and private dignity; and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Reprinted here for the first time is Franzen s controversial l996 investigation of the fate of the American novel in what became known as the Harper s essay, as well as his award-winning narrative of his father s struggle with Alzheimer s disease, and a rueful account of his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780312422165

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Franzen, Jonathan
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Franzen, Jonathan
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