Sunday, January 16, 2011
We're all miserable, asshole bastards. That was the prevailing thought in my mind while I read Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections.
This was the first novel I've ever read by Jonathan Franzen and I have to say, he's one author who truly lives up to the hype. Some of you might remember that when Franzen's newest novel Freedom came out, the consensus most of the critics reached was, "OMG best book evar!" Then of course, the haters followed, declaring The Corrections to be his true masterpiece. Being a hater at heart, I decided I needed to read The Corrections first.
The novel centers around a Midwestern, middle-class family that isn't dysfunctional on paper, but in its interiors, is completely collapsing. Alfred, the patriarch of family, is slowly deteriorating mentally and is beginning to see turds running around tauntingly (I couldn't make this up). Enid, the matriarch, is in denial of Alfred's state and is completely obsessed with bringing her family together for one last Christmas in her home.
Their adult children - Chip, Gary, and Denise - are all assholes, but in different flavors. Chip an immature fuck-up. Gary is overly-critical, self-righteous, and just a relentless dickhead in general. Denise is two-faced, and plays at being the perfect daughter while mentally torturing her lover. All three are embarrassed of their parents, and all three have moved to the East to escape them.
Franzen devotes different sections of the book to the thoughts of each family member, a technique which makes the ending of the novel just that much more rewarding. While reading through the different sections, it becomes obvious just how separate all the characters' lives truly are. They all wear different masks, and never really get to know each other beyond those facades.
The Corrections truly is epic. BEST BOOK EVAR? I don't know, but it definitely warrants a second read.
Posted by crapface at 12:41 PM