Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections.

I cam to page 71 of 568 when I realized that life indeed is too short to read bad books.

Yes, I find this a bad book.

"The novel won the 2001 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2002 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, was nominated for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award, and was shortlisted for the 2003 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. 
In 2005, The Corrections was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels.  
In 2006, Bret Easton Ellis declared the novel "one of the three great books of my generation." 
In 2009, website The Millions polled 48 writers, critics, and editors, including Joshua Ferris, Sam Anderson, and Lorin Stein.  The panel voted The Corrections the best novel of the first decade of the millennium "by a landslide"."
Wikipedia: The Corrections

Franzen himself was "ambivalent at his novel having been chosen by the club due to its inevitable association with the "schmaltzy" books selected in the past." You know, like Nobel Prize winners and other exaggeratingly sentimental, greasy books.

Jonathan likes words. The longer and more unusual, the better. In the first 70 pages I met four or five I've never even heard before. Like crepuscular and corpuscular.

He also likes grains.
"...not a pure tone but a granular sequence of percussions..."
" of the graininess of the high-speed film..."
Twice in the first 11 pages. 

He also uses a LOT of italics.

He uses way too many words to say practically nothing, but makes it LOOK very impressive and important.

I don't like any of the people I have met so far. I am not the least interested on how it goes for any of them. Let them rot and get involved in sex scandals and embarrass themselves, who cares!

I have read more than 10 percent of the book, and there's still no plot.

This is the plot summary:
"Alfred Lambert, the patriarch of a seemingly normal family living in the fictional town of St. Jude, suffers from Parkinson's disease and dementia. Enid, his longsuffering wife, suffers from Alfred's controlling, rigid behavior and her own embarrassment at what she perceives as her family's shortcomings. Their children all live in the Northeast. Gary, the eldest Lambert son, is a successful banker whose personal and family life is controlled by his beloved wife, a gifted manipulator and reader of pop-psychology books. Chip, the middle child, is a former academic whose disastrous affair with a student loses him a tenure-track job and lands him in the employ of a Lithuanian crime boss. Denise, the youngest of the family, is successful in her career as a chef but loses her job just at the peak of her career after interlocking romances with her boss and her boss's wife.

The separate plot-lines converge on Christmas morning back in St. Jude, when each child is forced to make a decision about what kind of responsibility to assume in helping their mother deal with their father's accelerating physical and mental decline."

After ten percent of the book we are not even in Christmas.

I don't get what is supposedly making this a "great novel". I think it's pure crap, and as life is too short reading crap, I won't read this book.


Henric C. Jensen said...

Ok. Uncle Tolkien walks alot, while he talks, right - at least he eventually gets to the 'point'.
Uncle Dickens talks a lot, walks a little and generally manages to have a point.
Franzen...talks, doesn't walk anywhere, and doesn't have a point, except pointing out that he knows a lot of words one needs a dictionary to understand - only to find that he says absolutely nothing whatsoever of value.
Jonathan Franzen gives Literary Fiction a really bad name.

Helena said...

Since I've never read Franzen I can't comment on his novels. But I think it's great how you're fearlessly contradicting the so-called "experts" and stating that "The Corrections" is just plain bad. It seems we've all read books hailed by critics only to end up throwing them (the books, not the critics) against a wall in frustration. It took me a long time to get over my literary insecurity and follow my own judgment and gut reactions. Either I love a book or I don't, and to hell with the alleged experts.

Sounds like you developed confidence in your own judgment much earlier than I did. Good for you.

Ketutar said...

Well, one of the benefits of getting middle-aged - or old :-)

I'm not able to join the Red Hat Society, but I think I will in 10 years :-D I might even start a chapter with my sisters :-D

kamagra said...

Jonathan is an amazing writer and very good at his craft. I love the story!

Ketutar said...

I suppose more people agree with you than me, Kamagra :-)
But - one cannot argue of questions of taste.