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The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
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The Corrections (2001)

by Jonathan Franzen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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13,033275175 (3.76)398
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» See also 398 mentions

English (258)  Dutch (6)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (275)
Showing 1-5 of 258 (next | show all)
2nd reading review, 2010: I loved it, again. Although, this time the novel seemed a lot more sad than funny, more profound and revelatory than merely well-written and entertaining, and I identified a lot more with Enid (the family's mother) this time (whereas on first reading I just judged her -- and rather harshly, at that). The novel's last two pages are heartbreaking, yet the final line is legitimately uplifting. The only real slog of the novel is the first 40 or so pages of Chip's section.

I can't remember ever reading a more emotionally accurate novel; Franzen really captures the nuances of (at least my experience of) how siblings and parents deal with the reversals and other changes of roles that come with time and with age and with infirmity and with all the challenges inherent in life: death, disease, divorce, alcoholism and any other -isms, the birth of children, grandchildren.

Add to the foregoing the following specific difficult situation: adult siblings dealing with a parental Christmas obsession. (Which happens to be the structure this novel is built on.) This tough situation is further complicated when an in-law spouse in the only sibling-family with children (i.e., GRANDCHILDREN) puts her foot down w/r/t traveling to visit the Christmas-obessed parent-in-law (which happens not only in this novel but also in life, and which situation can also serve as a kind of synecdoche of a certain type of family/in-law/spouse dynamic that I want to take great pains to emphasize that I am most emphatically not writing autobiographically about right now), and the alone-traveling spouse has to subsequently explain the absence of said spouse-with-her-foot down to the Christmas-obsessed parent in the nicest possible terms, which all but necessitates all kinds of white lying, etc. And even if the Christmas obsessed parent (in-law) either doesn't notice the lie or pretends not to notice the lie, the lying adult-child's siblings sure as hell notice. As it turns out, yes, they have rather strong opinions about the lie and about the lying adult-child's sibling's absent spouse-with-her-foot-down and how she (i.e., that spouse-in-law) always pulls this kind of crap, and ... well, you get the drift. This situation is a delicious one for drama and comedy, and Franzen totally pulls it off.


1st reading review, circa 2003: Franzen's best. You'll love it. This section is the funniest: "The more he thought about it, the angrier he got". ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
recycled, didn't read
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
I struggled to get past the non-sentences. As my daughter put it, forgiving a novelist trying to be a poet. Then it got gross. Being an Oprah pick, I knew there would be irredeemable characters, but I couldn't even get past Chip's terrible decisions and the unnecessary description of his sex life. Just not for me.
  MahanaU | Feb 26, 2016 |
A book which I enjoy more now in looking back on it than I did at the time. Take the humour. This is a comic novel and I can look back and enjoy the humour, but when reading it I had to keep reminding myself that it's comic. It is a clever forensic dissection of the dysfunctionalities of the modern american middle classes but right up to the closing section the characters remain a bundle of dysfunctionalities rather than whole people. And I'm just not that interested in middle class dysfunctionalities. Indeed the last section grounds the whole novel as finally we get some light thrown on the underlying reasons for dysfunctionality. This is probably the main reason why I get more enjoyment from the memory of the book than I did from the reading of it. 16 Feb 2016. ( )
  alanca | Feb 19, 2016 |
I started this review once already, struggled with it, and have decided to start completely over. The problem was that I was trying overly hard to justify my feelings. The words jumbled out, page after page, full of whining and excuses. I wanted to somehow convey my strong dislike for Franzen's personality, my ambivalence toward much of this book, but my appreciation for its strong moments, and my certainty that it had cemented its status as the best book Franzen will ever write. I felt I had to somehow justify four stars for an author whose pretentious prickness has only catapulted his career. I had to explain that while an author's personality should in no way impact critique of their work, it does; Franzenisms saturates the pages of this novel. The more I tried to justify all my mixed feelings, the more I felt like a pretentious prick.

So, The Corrections. It's not a simple read. It's over inflated and lags in the middle. The characters are intentionally unlikable, but depending on the reader's preferences, some of these characters may be widely loved. Personally, my favorite character was a turd. (Really, I'm not kidding—an actual turd.) Franzen's intelligence is evident in nearly every page; the man can write. There's a crude Shakespearean quality to Franzen's tragic farce. Likely, The Corrections is the most insightful and sensitive work the author will ever create. Yes, it's meant to shock, but that doesn't keep it from shining light on human nature and family dynamics. It takes an old idea (a disastrous family reunion) and makes it interesting. Yet, there's a cloak of arrogance that envelopes it all, making the production feel a bit like a politically-minded hipster soap opera. All in all, it's not worth the hype, in my opinion, but if you read only one Franzen, this is the one.

So I offer a few kind words to a man who has few. Well done, Mr. Franzen. You've written a good novel. You're obviously very intelligent and extremely focused, and for these traits I commend you. ( )
  chrisblocker | Jan 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 258 (next | show all)
Franzen’s brilliant achievement is that he creates a set of stereotypical characters and then opens the door and allows us see, in suspenseful, humorous, mesmerizing detail, their defining moments. What was once a silhouette becomes three-dimensional. The complexity becomes a dim mirror of our own complex interiority—writ large, the way we like it writ, because then we can’t help but see ourselves in it.
 
Hvis du skal ta med deg en eneste roman på sommerferie, bør det bli Jonathan Franzens "Korrigeringer". Du kan ikke gjøre noe bedre kjøp akkurat nå. Men romanen gjør deg ikke dermed til en lykkelig konsument, mener Tom Egil Hverven.
added by annek49 | editNRK, Tom Egil Hverven (Jun 24, 2002)
 
'Met voorsprong het beste boek dat ik in jaren gelezen heb. Het enige slechte is dat het jammer genoeg na 502 pagina's ophoudt.'
added by guurtjesboekenkast | editDe Morgen, Yves Desmet
 
'De correcties is een zeldzaamheid: een boek dat hoog inzet, stilistisch verbluft en niet kan worden weggelegd tot het is uitgelezen.'
added by guurtjesboekenkast | editNRC Handelsblad, Pieter Steinz
 
Fremragende amerikansk roman minder os om hvor nøjsomme vi i grunden er herhjemme. Litterært set.
added by 2810michael | editJyllands-Posten, Niels Lillelund
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Franzen, Jonathanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freire de Andrade, Maria JoãoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groenenberg, HuubTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lameris, MarianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CajTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To David Means and Geneve Patterson
First words
The madness of an autumn prairie cold front coming through.
Quotations
The human species was given dominion over the earth and took the opportunity to exterminate other species and warm the atmosphere and generally ruin things in its own image, but it paid the price for the privileges: that the finite and specific animal body of this species contained a brain capable of conceiving the infinite and wishing to be infinite itself.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
The Corrections is a 2001 novel by American author Jonathan Franzen. It revolves around the troubles of an elderly Midwestern couple and their three adult children, tracing their lives from the mid-twentieth century to "one last Christmas" together near the turn of the millennium.
Haiku summary
You're soldiering on . . . ?
It might become interesting . . . ?
It doesn't. Trust me.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312421273, Paperback)

Jonathan Franzen's exhilarating novel The Corrections tells a spellbinding story with sexy comic brio, and evokes a quirky family akin to Anne Tyler's, only bitter. Franzen's great at describing Christmas homecomings gone awry, cruise-ship follies, self-deluded academics, breast-obsessed screenwriters, stodgy old farts and edgy Tribeca bohemians equally at sea in their lives, and the mad, bad, dangerous worlds of the Internet boom and the fissioning post-Soviet East.

All five members of the Lambert family get their due, as everybody's lives swirl out of control. Paterfamilias Alfred is slipping into dementia, even as one of his inventions inspires a pharmaceutical giant to revolutionize treatment of his disease. His stubborn wife, Enid, specializes in denial; so do their kids, each in an idiosyncratic way. Their hepcat son, Chip, lost a college sinecure by seducing a student, and his new career as a screenwriter is in peril. Chip's sister, Denise, is a chic chef perpetually in hot water, romantically speaking; banker brother Gary wonders if his stifling marriage is driving him nuts. We inhabit these troubled minds in turn, sinking into sorrow punctuated by laughter, reveling in Franzen's satirical eye:

Gary in recent years had observed, with plate tectonically cumulative anxiety, that population was continuing to flow out of the Midwest and toward the cooler coasts.... Gary wished that all further migration [could] be banned and all Midwesterners encouraged to revert to eating pasty foods and wearing dowdy clothes and playing board games, in order that a strategic national reserve of cluelessness might be maintained, a wilderness of taste which would enable people of privilege, like himself, to feel extremely civilized in perpetuity.
Franzen is funny and on the money. This book puts him on the literary map. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:05 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

After almost fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have flown the family nest to live their own lives. Desperate for some pleasure, Enid has set her heart on bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home.… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

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