The Land of Laughs

A good friend lent me Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections.  I’d up to this point cast the eye of Sauron on the uber-bestseller lauded all the way to the literary hive. But, a man can change his mind, right, and still have his scruples?

And so I’m reading Mr. Franzen. Wow!

He’s no consummate stylist, no flamboyant experimentalist, no practitioner of weird tales, but he can pack a punch. The beginning was a trudge to get past, very slow to unwind and his character Chip (bloody awful name, but it’s part of the tone) is fed on the tiresome cliché of professor falling for a student and experimenting with drugs (yawn), but, dammit, the tone and the tension and the Ariadne thread of “What’s going to happen next?” to the Lambert family drives me on like a mule driver to whack the rumps of the book’s pages and keep going.

And since I hardly ever read good books with my bookish mind, slotting the author’s tricks and successes into compartments, I’m relaxing and letting its magic sink in like primordial mud, and it’s such an entertaining and comic book.

I only examine a book with my miserable literary antennae for the really, really shite ones, because I think that’s nothing I ever want to do.

“Writers should be applauded for their ability to make things up.” Emma Donoghue


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