Freedom, Jonathan Franzen
1.21.11 - 1.29.11
Franzen is one of the few authors I know capable of creating not merely characters, or even deep characters, but entire people. His books are these fascinating case studies that manage, inconceivably, to deal with all the relevant social and political issues of the period he's writing in. I'm not just in awe of how he writes, but there's actual shock that it is possible to deal with the entirety of a decade, and the viewpoints in it, in the way he does.
I've heard of authors, who, during interviews, respond to the question "did you know how the story would end before you wrote the ending"* or some such question, respond to it by saying they merely created the characters, and the characters created the story. I can't imagine Franzen giving any answer other than that one--his characters are so real and complete, I have a hard time imagining them doing anything Franzen asked them to, unless they originally wanted to.
I'm really excited to re-read The Corrections. Also, the last twenty-one words of this book make me feel sucker punched, and I'm almost started crying right there in the coffee shop where I finished it. That is a rare response to a book. For me, at least.
*Confession: my mom asks this question every time she goes to an author event, and I think it's a super interesting question. I also think that the way my mom interacts with her books is super interesting, but that's a totally different blog post.