Farther Away: Book summary and reviews of Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen

Farther Away

Essays

By Jonathan Franzen

Farther Away
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2012,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

Jonathan Franzen's Freedom was the runaway most-discussed novel of 2010, an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the twenty-first century. In The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus proclaimed it "a masterpiece of American fiction" and lauded its illumination, "through the steady radiance of its author's profound moral intelligence, [of] the world we thought we knew."

In Farther Away, which gathers together essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, Franzen returns with renewed vigor to the themes, both human and literary, that have long preoccupied him. Whether recounting his violent encounter with bird poachers in Cyprus, examining his mixed feelings about the suicide of his friend and rival David Foster Wallace, or offering a moving and witty take on the ways that technology has changed how people express their love, these pieces deliver on Franzen's implicit promise to conceal nothing. On a trip to China to see first-hand the environmental devastation there, he doesn't omit mention of his excitement and awe at the pace of China's economic development; the trip becomes a journey out of his own prejudice and moral condemnation. Taken together, these essays trace the progress of unique and mature mind wrestling with itself, with literature, and with some of the most important issues of our day. Farther Away is remarkable, provocative, and necessary.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This intimate read is packed with provocative questions about technology, love, and the state of the contemporary novel." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. An unfailingly elegant and thoughtful collection of essays from the formidable mind of Franzen, written with passion and haunted by loss." - Kirkus Reveiws

"Essential for all smart readers." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Jonathan Franzen Author Biography

Jonathan Franzen was born in Western Springs, Illinois, in 1959, and grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1981 he studied at the Freie Universität in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar and later worked in a seismology lab at Harvard University's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. In addition to winning a Whiting Writer's Award in 1998 and the American Academy's Berlin Prize in 2000, he has been named one of "Twenty Writers for the 21st Century" by The New Yorker and one of the "Best Young American Novelists" by Granta.

Mr. Franzen is the author of The Twenty-Seventh City and Strong Motion and is a frequent contributor to Harper's and The New Yorker (where portions of The Corrections have ...

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