It is quite surprising to think that the National Book Award for Fiction was awarded to a novel that has turds talking to the main character, Alfred. Has the literary world really become that desperate?
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (the author who refused to appear on Oprah) is about a family: an elderly couple with three grown-up children, that is three screwed-up children. The youngest is a girl who has no career, cannot decide whether she is hetero-, homo-, or bisexual, and seems to tae some delight in sleep with other people’s spouses. Then there is the middle son who seems obsessed with the noir world and being unusual and different, with his only claim to fame being an unpublished screenplay that reveals his obsession with breasts. Finally, there is the eldest son who is going through a mid-life crises and no longer loves his wife. Coupled with this is an old woman with a heart of gold, and a traditional, misogynistic old man who is senile and extremely annoying.
This is The Corrections. Franzen’s problem is that he tries too hard to make his characters strange and unusual like John Irving does, but the result is a bunch of people who just piss you off and who you don’t care about. Except fro Enid, but then once she is free from the embrace of her doomed family, and there seems to be some hope for her, the book ends.
Originally published on March 11th 2002.
Originally published in the Long Beach Union.