Jonathan Franzen arrived late, and last, in a family of boys in Webster Groves, Missouri. The Discomfort Zone is his intimate memoir of his growth from a "small and fundamentally ridiculous person," through an adolescence both excruciating and strangely happy, into an adult with embarrassing and unexpected passions. Its also a portrait of a middle-class family weathering the turbulence of the 1970s, and a vivid personal history of the decades in which America turned away from its midcentury idealism and became a more polarized society.
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"Starred review. While Franzen's family was unmarked by significant tragedy, the common yet painful contradictions of growing up are at the heart of this wonderful book." - PW.
"This gratifyingly unpredictable and finely crafted collection ends with a tour de force, "My Bird Problem," a thoughtful, wry, and edgy musing on marital bliss and misery, global warming, the wonder of birds, and our halfhearted effort to protect the environment." - Booklist.
"Quirky, funny, poignant, self-deprecating and ultimately wise." - Kirkus.
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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.
His 2001 novel, The Corrections, drew widespread critical acclaim, earned Franzen a National Book Award, was a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist, earned a James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was ...
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