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Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom Gets Its First Review

Jonathan Franzen's follow-up to The Corrections, Freedom, isn't out until September, but the first review is in — and it's good enough to have inspired a piece about how maybe Freedom is going to save Christmas book sales! While we don't know about that, we do know that the starred review in Publishers Weekly is a rave. The book, about a collapsing suburban family in St. Paul, Minnesota, finds "its own voice ... in a big way." (You can read excerpts in The New Yorker here and here. The Patty in the first story is the grown-up version of the Patty in the second story.) The review also says that in the novel, "Franzen pits his excavation of the cracks in the nuclear family’s facade against a backdrop of all-American faults and fissures, but where the book stands apart is that, no longer content merely to record the breakdown, Franzen tries to account for his often stridently unlikable characters and find where they (and we) went wrong, arriving at — incredibly — genuine hope." Unlikable characters! A survey of the American situation! Hope! Sign us up. [PW]