The stylish specs of the hysterical realists. Dave Eggers, grow a pair (of trendy glasses).
I did it. I finished Freedom on a delayed train last night. As I closed this year's most-read book, my only conscious impression was to hope someone in the packed car would hear the thump with which I conspicuously closed the back cover and strike up a convo about it. It is to its credit that ever since, all I've wanted is to make like Patty and gossip about it. After reading this "not short" book about lives, (whose plot, which I admittedly skimmed in favor of dirt on the characters, seemed nonetheless holey), all I wanted to know was, who did you like? Who do you hate? Who was in the right? But not in an ethical, important, or even a literary way, just in the way we want to know about our acquaintances or those celebs we feel we already know. Maybe reading countless reviews, watching interviews with the author, and attending live readings, all of which I have done for this particular book, does not a New Critical reading make. I am incapable of judging it in an English-classy way. Instead I want to play Franzen at his own game and indulge the neighborly gossip.
Franzen himself is super unlikeable, and I guess some people like that about him. A potentially misanthropic bird-watcher, he has made the double mistake of offending Oprah and then sucking up to her. He came off as arrogant at the live reading Ellis an I attended. But, for the defense, Franzen also disclosed at said reading that he himself had experienced the "worst thing that happens in the book." Hm. Let's call it this week's "blind item."