‘A literary genius for our time’ The Guardian
‘ Arguably America’s greatest living novelist’ Daily Telegraph
Widely hailed as ‘splendid’ and one of his best yet, the new Jonathan Franzen is a tour de force of interwoven perspective and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day in the American Midwest.
It’s 23 December 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless – unless his wife Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child Clem is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh-graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.
Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.