(Named one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of 2010 and an Oprah Book Club Selection)
In his first novel since the brilliant National Book Award winner The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us another epic of contemporary love and marriage. Critics have been unanimous in their praise for this new novel, comparing Franzen to Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck, Tom Wolfe, John Updike, and Philip Roth, while Oprah Winfrey has selected Freedom as the first book club selection for her final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Franzen portrays Patty and Walter Berglund as 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 neighbor, 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, total 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—washed-up rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival—still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes? Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaky compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire.
"Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Freedom, like his previous one, The Corrections, is a masterpiece of American fiction ... a still richer and deeper work—less glittering on its surface but more confident in its method.... Like all great novels, Freedom does not just tell an engrossing story. It illuminates, through the steady radiance of its author's profound moral intelligence, the world we thought we knew."—NYTBR