The comparison with Faulks' "A Week in December" is telling. It reveals, IMO the cowardice we see in so many post 9/11 novels: the total absence of any writing that might be considered negative about Islam (definitely nothing negative about Muhammad!) or death threats might well result. Hence so many good novelists simply avoid the problem with a story set in an earlier time. It is disgusting what Muslim intimidation has done to modern literature.
We see what fear can do to a man in the case of Faulks. He makes a groveling apology with complements to Islam and Muhammad - a nauseating Stockholm Syndrome for all to see.
Good essay. Here's an exercise a friend suggested for those who find genius in Franzen's prose: Read the first few pages of Shane. Then read the first few of The Corrections. I did, and her point was well-taken.
Indeed, thank you, Brendan, for this. I think "Corrections" will be my 1st and last effort to enrich Mr. Franzen. So much else out there. Good luck to you.
I will say from the outset, thank you Mr. Bernhard for your review of Freedom. After having slogged through Corrections, I had not planned to pick up anything else from the hand of Franzen, but your insight of this latest writing gave me pause and I will work on it. You really said what I've thought about his work and yet give him his due. I did appreciate and enjoy your writings and look forward to reading more of YOU!!
An interesting review by an intelligent reader who actually has an opinion and isn't just repeating all the other positive reviews. Anna
Pretty good! Like it! Gr.
Equating war-profiteering with sports gambling is precisely why we have moronic laws, of all sorts, restricting personal 'freedom' in this country.
Thanks for the great review. You just helped me save $28. The book sounds like typical liberal mealy-mouthed whining and hand-wringing. I'd rather read something that celebrates the sacrifices made by Americans in pursuit of freedom - for themselves and others.