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Purity by Jonathan Franzen
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Purity (2015)

by Jonathan Franzen

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1,282548,948 (3.54)29
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English (48)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Well that was disappointing. I told myself to put it down 1/3rd way in, but I didn't listen and now I feel like I wasted 7 days of reading. So the description of the book is accurate, it is about Purity (Pip) and her finding out who her mother really is and who her father is after being lied to her entire life by her mom, but its such a mess. She ends up working for a Snowden like guy, who killed this guy for this girl who was Purity's room mate, then he sends her to this guy's news business that he confessed to murder to to keep tabs, or is there something else. Hmmm? There's multiple characters telling the plot, but they are all awful and similar. The book is a bit misogynistic (shocker! A book which characters focusing on purity is filled with sexism), to the point where you just can't believe someone could write all these characters this flawed (with the same flaw) and that there's a issue with the author's view. Very disappointing, the plot could of been interesting if the characters were better developed and the book was much shorter. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Jul 9, 2018 |
This was a great read, and as I am new to Franzen certainly an encouragement to read more of his work. What it is actually about is not very clear to me. The title suggests purity, but there is little of that in the book. Perhaps it is an ideal people struggle for but never attain.

The story begins with twenty-something Purity (Pip) as she struggles to cope with a $130,000 college debt, an uninspiring underpaid job with a dodgy telemarketing company selling "renewal energy" contracts (a job that keeps her in touch with her morals), living in near poverty and having no friends apart from her reclusive mother who won't tell her who her father is, and won't even tell her own real name. After a failed love incident she decides to join the Sunlight Project, an international internet based organisation dedicated to exposing corruption and abuse of power by governments and major corporations, hoping through it she will find her father, and through which she meets the two characters that are the centre of this story.

The two characters, East German anti-Stasi activist turned Assange-like internet warrior Andreas Wolf, and the American independent investigative online newspaper owner Tom Aberant, share a few things in common - they both have been raised in a circle of privilege and are associated with mothers and lovers that are the most obsessive and toxic women you are likely to meet in literature. What is it that makes these capable men love and honour such destructive women? That gets answered in the case of Andreas Wolf but not really with Tom Aberant. Is there any point to life and relationships of the attitudes these women take?

The book also looks at the question of what does one do with your inherited culture - do you reject it or do you work within it for some honourable goal?

After opening the story the character Purity gives way to the male characters, and remains the link between the various people and incidents, and she closes the story. Her character is the opposite to the very intense Andreas and Tom, their mothers and lovers (should the book have been called Sons and Lovers - the Obsessive Generation?) and perhaps serves to underscore that there is no cure for obsession and that the ordinariness of life provides hope to avoid it and rescue you from it. ( )
1 vote motorbike | Jun 23, 2018 |
Jonathan Franzen has, for me, been the one shining example of an author whom I cannot stand personally but whose writing I like. (Want to know why I can't stand him? Read any interview with him -- really, just pick one at random and by the time you're halfway through you'll understand.) I thought [b:The Corrections|3805|The Corrections|Jonathan Franzen|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1355011305s/3805.jpg|941200] was amazingly good -- it even stood up to a reread several years later -- and [b:Freedom|7905092|Freedom|Jonathan Franzen|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1316729686s/7905092.jpg|9585796], although not as strong, still had some great moments and was well worth reading.

Purity, not so much. It was almost a relief to me to dislike this book because I no longer have to feel so conflicted about liking the books of someone who comes across as a self-involved jackass. (I am trying to allow for the possibility that he is less insufferable in real life.) This book misses on every level -- the plot is far-fetched, the characterization is off, and some parts of it are shockingly badly written. I've seen it on some top ten lists so it's possible that my feelings about Franzen are finally affecting the way I read his books. But really, I thought this was quite bad. I will be happy to avoid picking up his next doorstopper. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
This has been in my queue ever since it was published and I was leery of tackling it. Sorry I waited so long. I read it in one weekend though I do have to say that I was more interested in the story line then I was in a lot of what I considered unnecessary fluff. I enjoyed the way he introduced each character and saw they all were connected at the end. The first (primary) character was at the center of them all and I enjoyed her evolution through the story. All the characters were very compelling, some in a good way and some in a bad way. Highly recommend. ( )
  bogopea | Apr 16, 2018 |
America's funnyman hits us with a juicy tome. I'm not convinced he's able to marry his thematic content to the characters but he definitely gives it a good go. The Freudian shit was tired tho. ( )
  triphopera | Apr 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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"Oh pussycat, I'm so glad to hear your voice," the girl's mother said on the telephone.
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E forse la pazzia era proprio questo: una valvola di emergenza per alleviare la pressione di un'ansia intollerabile.
Non vedeva alcun rischio razionale nell'accendere la luce sopra il fornello, ma avere una mente complicata significava anche comprenderne i limiti, comprendere che non poteva pensare a tutto. La stupidità scambiava se stessa per intelligenza, mentre l'intelligenza riconosceva la propria stupidità. Un paradosso interessante. Ma non rispondeva alla domanda se accendere la luce o no.
Il mondo era sovrappopolato di parlatori e sottopopolato di ascoltatori, e molte delle su fonti le davano l'impressione di essere la prima persona che le avesse mai davvero ascoltate.
– Ecco due verità sulla fama … Una è che ti rende solo. L'altra è che tutti quelli che ti circondano proiettano i loro sentimenti su di te. Anche per questo ti rende solo. È come se tu, come persona, non esistessi nemmeno. Sei solo un oggetto sul quale gli altri proiettano l'idealismo, la rabbia e così via.
Lo scopo di internet e delle tecnologie connesse era «liberare» l'umanità dai compiti – fabbricare cose, imparare cose, ricordare cose – che prima davano significato alla vita e perciò ne costituivano l'essenza. Ora sembrava che l'unico compito significativo fosse l'ottimizzazione per i motori di ricerca.
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"A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of Freedom Young Pip Tyler doesn't know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she's saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she's squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother--her only family--is hazardous. But she doesn't have a clue who her father is, why her mother has always concealed her own real name, or how she can ever have a normal life. Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world--including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn't understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong. Purity is a dark-hued comedy of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has created yet another cast of vividly original characters, Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers, and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. Jonathan Franzen is a major author of our time, and Purity is his edgiest and most searching book yet"--… (more)

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