My appearance on KMOX was indicative. To the angry callers demanding to know why I hated St. She wants to keep dreaming. I mourn the retreat into the Self and the decline of the broad-canvas novel for the same reason I mourn the rise of suburbs: How did it feel to be a whh kid returning to St. Why Bother? In a review of The Corrections for The eXileJohn Dolan criticized the novel for not realizing Frwnzen ambition as expressed in the essay.
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Small wonder they were desperate. If writing was the medium of communication within the community of childhood, it makes sense that when writers grow up they frznzen to find writing vital to their sense of connectedness.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Silence, however, is a useful statement only if someone, somewhere, expects your voice to be loud. A partial cure, or better yet, an endless succession of partial cures, but failing whj, even just the consolation of knowing you have a disease — anything is better than mystery.
The work of transparency and beauty and obliqueness that I wanted to write was getting bloated with issues. Superficially, at least, regionalism is still thriving. This last group is particularly large. This, in part, is what he said:. Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. The Discomfort Zone Whether they think about it or not, novelists are preserving a tradition of precise, expressive language; a habit of looking past surfaces into interiors; maybe an understanding of private experience and public context as distinct but interpenetrating; maybe mystery, maybe manners.
Communion with the virtual community of print requires solitude, after all. In contrast, Franzen posits that in the current cultural, media, and technological circumstances, major cultural problems are themselves cognitively reduced to surface issues for which immediate cures must be found. Knowing MacLaine a little better, however, is what the country mainly wants. Three years ago she interviewed me, and last summer I had lunch with her in Palo Alto.
The American writer today faces a cultural totalitarianism analogous to the political totalitarianism with which two generations of Eastern bloc writers had to contend. In the short run, however, in this century of amazing prosperity and health, the breakdown takes a heavy toll on the ancient methods of dealing with the Ache. It was not, I said. The consumer economy loves a product that sells at a premium, wears out quickly or is susceptible to regular improvement, and offers with each improvement some marginal gain in usefulness.
That hard core is a fganzen small prize to be divided among a very large number of working novelists. She lurked in airports at least before the arrival of CNN. Novels, after all, do sometimes ignite political debates or become embroiled in them.
Why Bother? Science attacked religious mystery a long time ago. In the last decade, the magazine whose red border twice enclosed the face of James Joyce has devoted covers to Scott Turow and Stephen King.
JONATHAN FRANZEN WHY BOTHER PDF
Email required Address never made public. Works by Jonathan Franzen. And strong works of fiction are what refuse to give easy answers bothfr the conflict, to paint things as black and white, good guys versus bad guys. The big, obvious reason for the decline of the social novel is that modern technologies do a much better job of social instruction. Why Bother? Ringing the depressed urban core of serious fiction were prosperous new suburbs of mass entertainments. Panic grows in the gap between the increasing length of the project and the shrinking time increments of wgy change: In a winter when every house in the nation was haunted by the ghostly telepresences of Peter Arnett in Baghdad and Tom Brokaw in Saudi Arabia — a winter when the inhabitants of those houses seemed less like individuals than a collective algorithm for the conversion of media jingoism into an eighty-nine-percent approval rating — I was tempted to think that if a contemporary Otto Bentwood were breaking down, he would kick in the screen of his bedroom TV.
FRANZEN WHY BOTHER PDF