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The Twenty-seventh City by Jonathan Franzen
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The Twenty-seventh City (original 1988; edition 2003)

by Jonathan Franzen

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,0261011,944 (3.19)1 / 21
Member:artistlibrarian
Title:The Twenty-seventh City
Authors:Jonathan Franzen
Info:HarperPerennial (2003), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:noah, fiction, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:American, politics, mystery

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The Twenty-Seventh City by Jonathan Franzen (1988)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Funeral blues

Non so perchè, ma improvvisamente ho associato una immagine alla fine delle pagine: quei funerali con la banda che intona una sorta di blues triste misto a canti gospel che oscilla lentamente, ma anche velocemente, da uno stato d'animo all'altro. E' faticoso, questo pezzo di Franzen, molto faticoso. Ti porta da un umore all'altro, lo ami, poi lo odi, poi accelera, poi si perde in particolari esasperanti quanto a volte di una bellezza lapidaria. Poi accelera di nuovo, come se dovesse recuperare del tempo, ma per dire cosa? per fare cosa? Sali e scendi sull'altalena, cerchi di afferrare qualcosa agitando le mani nell'aria, ma sei sempre lì... sull'altalena. Sei impantanato a St. Louis, fra le sue paludi morali, intricate, sordide e multirazziali. Perchè proprio una indiana di Bombay diventa capo della polizia, oltretutto donna, in un ruolo, in una città dove le donne sono tutt'altro che inserite in ruoli chiave? Cosa vuole ottenere facendo leva sugli intrighi ed il disfacimento morale della comunità della cittadina? Domande senza risposta. Sembra un lunghissimo serial tv, fatto di sospetti, acque torbide, finzione, falsità senza riuscire ad essere sufficientemente attraente nel solleticare le corde della lettura. E' stato difficile resistere e la lunghezza del tempo che ho impiegato a leggerlo è indicativa. Non l'ho trovato esaltante, con un finale poi mozzato in maniera approssimativa (ma è una mia opinione, forse dovuta anche alla stanchezza), ma non mi arrendo. Ho altre cartucce Franzeniane da spararmi negli occhi. A noi due!
  Magrathea | Dec 30, 2017 |
Franzen's first novel, and what a great one. A slightly absurdist plot, set in St. Louis, what more do you want? ( )
  MichaelBarsa | Dec 17, 2017 |
If you ever wondered what a political thriller would look like if written by Jonathan Franzen, look no further. This is it.
I have difficulty rating this book. Franzen knows how to write. His characters are well-developed and is able to describe a scene or an individual's inner life with telling detail. However, in this novel his gifts are put to the service of a plot that is patently ridiculous.
In brief, the book is about a cabal of Indian immigrants, led by a charismatic woman hired as police chief, who seek to take over the power structure of St. Louis. If that doesn't sound crazy enough (e.g., what does Franzen have against south Asians? And why St. Louis, of all places?), they're able to accomplish this all within a period of eight months. They engage in everything from terrorist attacks to seductions of the city business leaders. All this happens as if St. Louis exists in a bubble. One plot involves an attempt to blow up Busch Stadium with three tons of cordite. How was all this explosive smuggled into the stadium without anyone noticing. And how was it that after the explosion, there was no involvement of the FBI whose forensics could easily trace the perps?
And I could go on and on listing equally implausible plot-points, from developers who changed the strategic direction of their companies without any deliberation with their Boards of Directors or stockholders to completely implausible romances.
Yet strangely, I still enjoyed turning the pages. I recognize that part of my enjoyment comes from my having lived in St. Louis a few years before this story supposedly happened, making the setting very familiar to me. But it was also a pleasure to read how Franzen weaves words and picks up on details that less imaginative writers would ignore.
But that plot: it still has me shaking my head. What a doozy!

( )
  kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
Well, somebody has to give this book a decent review. It was a decent book. Not great but good enough to keep reading if only to wallow in the luscious prose of Jonathan Franzen. This is the third book I've read by him. I can't really say that I loved any of them but his writing is so good that I can overlook some of the plot lines that don't grab me. This one had to do with corruption that came to St. Louis in the 1980s along with the female police chief from India. It sounds bizarre and becomes even more so when her minions start doing her dirty work behind the scenes. Her major foe is Martin Probst who built the Gateway Arch and is supposedly too level-headed to be taken in by Police Chief Jammu's "charms" so his family is targeted.

There are way too many characters to keep straight in the book but many are bit players who come and go. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on with the buying and selling of real estate, but it all comes down to political graft which, in my opinion, is not the most scintillating topic for a novel. I will recommend the book to fans of Franzen who are interested in reading his debut novel or my friends who hail from the St. Louis area. Franzen is a local boy who knows his turf and describes the beauty and decay in great detail. ( )
1 vote Donna828 | Jun 11, 2013 |
I give up. I've been working on this book for over a month now and I'm only halfway through, so it's time I threw in the towel. There are too many characters and too much conspiracy; I can't keep track. I think my head was in a bad place when I picked this up, and I shouldn't hold that against the book. But really. After 250 pages I should have at least found one character I care about, right? I'll leave a bookmark in it and maybe come back to it someday, but really, I doubt I will.

I'm sorry, Mr. Franzen. I tried. And it's not you, it's me. (But it might be you.) ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonathan Franzenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In early June Chief William O'Connell of the St. Louis Police Department announced his retirement, and the Board of Police Commissioners, passing over the favored candidates of the city political establishment, the black community, the press, the Officers Association and the Missouri governor, selected a woman, formerly with the police in Bombay, India, to begin a five-year term as chief.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312420145, Paperback)

St. Louis, Missouri, is a quietly dying river city until it hires a new police chief: a charismatic young woman from Bombay, India, named S. Jammu. No sooner has Jammu been installed, though, than the city's leading citizens become embroiled in an all-pervasive political conspiracy. A classic of contemporary fiction, The Twenty-Seventh City shows us an ordinary metropolis turned inside out, and the American Dream unraveling into terror and dark comedy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

St. Louis, Missouri, is a quietly dying river city until it hires a new police chief: a charismatic young woman from Bombay, India, named S. Jammu. No sooner has Jammu been installed, though, than the city's leading citizens become embroiled in an all-pervasive political conspiracy. The story shows us an ordinary metropolis turned inside out, and the American Dream unraveling into terror and dark comedy.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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