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Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) by…

Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Jonathan Franzen

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,442314597 (3.78)271
Title:Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)
Authors:Jonathan Franzen
Info:Picador (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 608 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (2010)

  1. 41
    The War Room by Bryan Malessa (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both are 500+ page modern epics whose stories originate in the Midwest but this one moves far beyond the territory and scope of Freedom. Represented and sold by same agent as Franzen's book and same UK publisher.
  2. 10
    Unless by Carol Shields (Cecilturtle)
  3. 21
    In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (allenmichie)
  4. 22
    The Privileges by Jonathan Dee (BillPilgrim)
    BillPilgrim: Another modern family story. Jonathan Franzen recommended The Privileges to the New Yorker book club.
  5. 11
    The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (hairball)
    hairball: Similar tone.
  6. 11
    Matrimony by Joshua Henkin (susiesharp)
    susiesharp: They are both about the lives of people you learn to care about yet don't always like
  7. 01
    May We Be Forgiven: A Novel by A. M. Homes (GCPLreader)

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» See also 271 mentions

English (271)  Spanish (18)  Dutch (11)  French (4)  Swedish (3)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (314)
Showing 1-5 of 271 (next | show all)
Eh. I wanted to like this more than I did. I initially figured I'd be able to skewer the author for casual misanthropy. That plan was foiled, to my mildly pleasant surprise, when I found the author actually like his characters. but when I dug all the way to the bottom, there was really no there there. The caustic review I read 40 pages from the end may not have helped. ( )
  steve.lane | Nov 28, 2015 |
I can't add much to the praise that's already been heaped on this novel. The characters and their individual stories seemed impossibly vivid and alive, despite the painful mistakes they were making in their lives.

It's weird; it's easy to forget what an amazing writer Franzen is when one is not actually in the process of reading one of his books. Before I started Freedom I was dragging my feet a little, thinking, "Oh, big literary blockbuster, do I have the energy to slog through?" But once I began reading I found it to be as much a page-turner as any action thriller. Impressive. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
My personal favourite of Jonathan Franzen even though I adore his others.
  DiannaJ | Oct 25, 2015 |
Avete presente quando vi svegliate la mattina e vi guardate allo specchio prima ancora di introdurre nel vostro organismo un pop' di benedetta caffeina? I capelli spettinati, gli occhi semichiusi, il viso con le pieghe dove eri appoggiata al cuscino, l'espressione leggermente stupita perché non ci si riconosce come quelli che siamo poi durante la giornata, avete presente?
Questo romanzo è l'equivalente di quell'occhiata allo specchio di una famiglia americana di classe media, il tutto con un linguaggio piano e semplice che fa scivolare liscia liscia la narrazione, che fissa ben bene nella nostra testa i personaggi, le loro storie, i loro pensieri, senza annoiare ma senza doversi fermare per gustare una qualche acrobazia stilistica (ehm,sto leggendo per la terza volta Infinite Jest, al confronto la facilità di lettura di Libertà è paragonabile alla lettura dell'etichetta della bottiglia d'acqua minerale, adoro IJ ma anche la semplicità ha dei gran pregi).
Mi è piaciuto, sono indecisa fra tre e quattro stelle ....
( )
  LdiBi | Oct 24, 2015 |
Effortless reading, like Franzen sits you down & says I'm going to tell you a story, you won't have to do any work. Just listen.

QUOTE: "The loony rage of his readership was worrisome" ( )
  Jasonboog | Oct 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 271 (next | show all)
One keeps waiting for something that will make these flat characters develop in some way, and finally the Nice Man is struck by a great blow of fate. But rather than write his way through it, Franzen suspends things just before the moment of impact, then resumes Walter’s story six years later—updating us with the glib aside that the event in question “had effectively ended his life.” A writer’s got to know his limitations, but this stratagem is clumsy enough to make one want to laugh for the first time in the book. It certainly beats the part where a wedding ring is retrieved from a bowl of feces.
added by danielx | editAtlantic, BR Myers (May 13, 2012)
Franzen is an amateur ethnographer impersonating a fiction writer. His novel is overstuffed with finger-puppet characters and the clutter of contemporary life: there's no reason to know that someone is wearing "Chinese-made sneakers" or that someone else watches Pirates of the Caribbean during a transatlantic flight. Freedom is crammed as well with rants passed off as dialogue and dialogue that either serves no narrative purpose or reeks of research done in the lifestyle pages of the New York Times.
added by lorax | editThe Nation, John Palatella (Nov 15, 2010)
The freedom of Freedom isn't freedom of choice, it's freedom from it; not an expansion but a narrowing. The book's movement is from the abyss of the abstract to the surety of the concrete, from the potential to the actual. You get there not by reinventing yourself in the American vein, by hatching a plan or heading west or donning a disguise. You do it by going home again, by seeing, as if for the first time, what you've already done, and claiming it as your own.
added by zhejw | editHarper's, Christine Smallwood (pay site) (Nov 1, 2010)
I didn't buy one of the characters, I didn't buy one of the plot twists, I found the stuff about a Halliburton-esque company rather convoluted and I was completely absorbed by the rest. Without question, Freedom is a book that grabs hold of you. When I was in the middle, I thought of its characters even while I wasn't reading about them, and when I was reading it, I read several lines aloud to my husband.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Franzen, Jonathanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abarbanell, BettinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Abelsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlsen, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schönfeld, EikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Go together, you precious winners all; your exultation partake to everyone. I, an old turtle, will wing me to some withered bough, and there, my mate, that's never to be found again, lament till I am lost.
The Winter's Tale ----
To Susan Golomb & Jonathan Galassi
First words
The news about Walter Berglund wasn't picked up locally -- he and Patty had moved away to Washington two years earlier and meant nothing to St. Paul now -- but the urban gentry of Ramsey Hill were not so loyal to their city as not to read the New York Times.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbour who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world.

But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz - outré rocker and Walter's old college friend and rival - still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to poor Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbour," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?

In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of too much liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's intensely realized characters, as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time. [Amazon.co.uk]
Haiku summary
What does Freedom mean?
Free to use, free to preserve
Free to love, to live

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The idyllic lives of civic-minded environmentalists Patty and Walter Berglund come into question when their son moves in with aggressive Republican neighbors, green lawyer Walter takes a job in the coal industry, and go-getter Patty becomes increasingly unstable and enraged.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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