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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.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,569264191 (3.76)386
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» See also 386 mentions

English (247)  Dutch (6)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (264)
Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
This is a book I've been wanting to read for a while but was nervous about picking up, as other reviews seemed so polarised. At 653 pages it's a weighty tome, and not one I relished dragging my way through.

As it turned out I really enjoyed this book, and the 600-odd pages flew by (which was very surprising, as I often turn into a page-watcher with books this long). Essentially it's the story of a dysfunctional family of 3 grown up children and their parents. Alfred, the father, has Parkinson's and increasing dementia. His wife Enid is the type of mother who can't help picking faults with her children when they visit - all of her life's unhappiness rests at the feet of everyone in the family but herself. Strained with her difficult life at home with Alfred, the only thing that keeps her going is living in the future, looking forward to holidays and family get-togethers, and she desperately wants the family to all get together at home for one last Christmas.

The 3 children each have their own significant issues going on in their lives, and Franzen inter-weaves their lives with the story of the early years in the Lambert family, and the different relationships that each child has with both parents and with each other.

If I have one criticism, it is that Franzen got a little too fantastical with Chip's story, as if he had too many ideas but couldn't face holding any of them off for a later book. I felt his particular story ended up being too far-fetched against the realism of the rest of the family's lives, but this part was fairly short and so didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the novel.

Corrections isn't a jolly read, but I felt that Franzen captured very acutely the realities of family life as we get older: the inevitable frictions that arise when parents cannot accept that their children are old enough to make their own choices and mistakes; the different ways that each parent responds to each child; the struggles at holiday time of juggling your own family's wants (when you have children of your own) with those of your parents; the difficulties of dealing with a parent in his physical and mental decline.

The characters were all ultimately flawed, and none of them were necessarily that likeable, but they were very well developed, and by the end of the book I cared enough to want things to work out well for each of them. ( )
  AlisonY | Jul 2, 2015 |
Clever, witty, mean-spirited, pretentious and ultimately shallow. ( )
  justifiedsinner | Jun 24, 2015 |
Overall Impression: This man really loves the sound of his own voice.

Recommended for: Literary fiction fans who don't mind getting bogged down by too much information and pages upon pages describing a poop dream.

I while ago, I wrote a post about how this book was taking me so long to read and how I didn't know if I loved it or hated it. I now know that I hated it. I actually ended up not finishing it. It started out with a lot of promise, and admittedly, there were moments of brilliance which is why my score isn't a 1/10. However, those moments were overshadowed by long stretches of very boring material that I felt did nothing for the characters. This lead me to not care either way about what happened to them, which is never a good sign when reading a book. I could get through a pretty bad book if I spent the whole time wanting something terrible to happen to the characters, but in this instance, if you asked how I felt about a particular character, I would shrug and say "eh". And this is a major deal breaker for me. I care too much about characters to read an entire book about ones I don't feel anything for.

I became so simultaneously annoyed and bored at one point that I just couldn't read on. What annoyed/bored me so much that I actually quit reading a book? Well, I just couldn't read one more page about characters that just don't matter. There are many times when you get the entire life story of some character who is not one of the main ones. And this will happen in large ten page chunks! This also happens with people that you meet once, maybe twice, in the book and you will get like five pages of exposition about their lives. It was too much and started feeling like it was just a way for him to fill more pages. "Why do I need to know this?!" was a common utterance of mine while I was reading this book. Maybe it did become important later, but I didn't care enough to find out.

But like I said above, there were some brilliant moments in the first part of the book that I read. (I almost got halfway through.) These moments are what kept me reading it for so long, however. they started coming less and less often as the book continued. Sadly, there wasn't enough brilliance for me to go on. Too much superfluous information. Too much exposition. Too much talk about poop. Basically, the book was just too much. ( )
  kell1732 | Jun 23, 2015 |
Engrossing to me, now that parkinson's disease has affected my life. I enjoyed it years ago, and on this re-reading, couldn't get enough. ( )
  loosha | Jun 21, 2015 |
The blurb said it well: "a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes." Some weird and also explicit bits that are always weirdly believable, except when Dad falls off the side of a cruise liner from multi storey height. But even that, given the internal life of the family, is not totally impossible. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 247 (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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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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