Jonathan Franzen How to be Alone

ISBN 13: 9780007153589

How to be Alone

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9780007153589: How to be Alone

Passionate, independent-minded nonfiction from the international bestselling author of 'The Corrections'. Jonathan Franzen's 'Freedom' was the literary sensation of 2010, whilst 'The Corrections' was the best-loved and most written-about novel the previous decade. 'How to be Alone', is a collection of the personal essays and painstaking, often humorous reportage that have earned Franzen a wide and loyal readership, including what has come to be known as 'The Harper's Essay', Franzen's controversial 1996 look at the fate of the novel. From the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, from his father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease to a rueful account of Franzen's brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author, each piece wrestles with Franzen's familiar themes: the erosion of civic life and private dignity, and the hidden persistence of loneliness, in postmodern imperial America. These collected 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.' They voice a 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 the sharpest, toughest-minded, and most entertaining social critics at work today.

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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

About the Author:

Jonathan Franzen is the author of THE TWENTY- SEVENTH, STRONG MOTION and THE CORRECTIONS. His fiction and nonfiction appear frequently in the NEW YORKER and HARPER'S, and he was named one of the best American novelists under forty by GRANTA and the NEW YORKER. He lives in New York City.

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Jonathan Franzen
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 126 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Passionate, independent-minded nonfiction from the international bestselling author of The Corrections . Jonathan Franzen s Freedom was the literary sensation of 2010, whilst The Corrections was the best-loved and most written-about novel the previous decade. How to be Alone , is a collection of the personal essays and painstaking, often humorous reportage that have earned Franzen a wide and loyal readership, including what has come to be known as The Harper s Essay , Franzen s controversial 1996 look at the fate of the novel. From the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, from his father s struggle with Alzheimer s disease to a rueful account of Franzen s brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author, each piece wrestles with Franzen s familiar themes: the erosion of civic life and private dignity, and the hidden persistence of loneliness, in postmodern imperial America. These collected 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. They voice a 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 the sharpest, toughest-minded, and most entertaining social critics at work today. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007153589

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 126 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Passionate, independent-minded nonfiction from the international bestselling author of The Corrections . Jonathan Franzen s Freedom was the literary sensation of 2010, whilst The Corrections was the best-loved and most written-about novel the previous decade. How to be Alone , is a collection of the personal essays and painstaking, often humorous reportage that have earned Franzen a wide and loyal readership, including what has come to be known as The Harper s Essay , Franzen s controversial 1996 look at the fate of the novel. From the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, from his father s struggle with Alzheimer s disease to a rueful account of Franzen s brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author, each piece wrestles with Franzen s familiar themes: the erosion of civic life and private dignity, and the hidden persistence of loneliness, in postmodern imperial America. These collected 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. They voice a 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 the sharpest, toughest-minded, and most entertaining social critics at work today. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007153589

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Book Condition: New. 2004. New ed. Paperback. Passionate, independent-minded nonfiction from the international bestselling author of 'The Corrections'. Num Pages: 320 pages. BIC Classification: 1KBB; 2ABM; DNF; FA; JF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 199 x 129 x 20. Weight in Grams: 222. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007153589

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, How to be Alone, Jonathan Franzen, Passionate, independent-minded nonfiction from the international bestselling author of 'The Corrections'. Jonathan Franzen's 'Freedom' was the literary sensation of 2010, whilst 'The Corrections' was the best-loved and most written-about novel the previous decade. 'How to be Alone', is a collection of the personal essays and painstaking, often humorous reportage that have earned Franzen a wide and loyal readership, including what has come to be known as 'The Harper's Essay', Franzen's controversial 1996 look at the fate of the novel. From the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, from his father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease to a rueful account of Franzen's brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author, each piece wrestles with Franzen's familiar themes: the erosion of civic life and private dignity, and the hidden persistence of loneliness, in postmodern imperial America. These collected 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.' They voice a 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 the sharpest, toughest-minded, and most entertaining social critics at work today. Bookseller Inventory # B9780007153589

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