Thursday, November 26, 2015
Book Review: Purity by Jonathan Franzen
Sometimes reading a novel is not unlike getting a root canal. You know when the dentist comes in and provides the Novocaine and makes idle chit chat and you start to feel relaxed. The same with Purity, the first 80 pages are tolerable, I came to like Pip and her squatter mates. Then all the drilling starts, the pressure and loud noises start to irritate, and you would do anything to get the hell out of that chair. Once the scene shifts to East Germany and the dreadful Mr. Wolf shows up we are suddenly in a third rate Bergman film. And it goes downhill from there. It's like being trapped on an elevator with the most dreadful people on the planet. In Franzen's universe Mommies are the root cause of all evil. Franzen writes nice prose and does have his moments, but I don't get all the hype. Many modern writers are engaging with history, gender, economics, and class in more interesting ways than Franzen, Marlon James being one example. Let's be honest, he writes for the New Yorker crowd. Nuff Said.