Wednesday, October 06, 2010

please feel free to disagree, but please back your comments up with examples!

i picked up a copy of "the corrections" two weeks ago because so many reviews of franzen's latest book have been published.  there's the whole talk of "is this as big a masterpiece as the last?" and frankly, it made me want to know what all the fuss was about.  an old co-worker of mine and i decided to read it, as our own mini, email book club.  i'm about 100 pages in, and here are my thoughts so far:
  • some passages are terribly, awfully overwrought.  like franzen just got a thesaurus and is using it to make certain sentences as fussy as possible.  using big words to obfuscate* or otherwise confuse the reader, and give the ones who can follow it an undeserved pat on the back for their genius.  i imagine it also causes a lot of readers to act like the emperor's advisers, talk a lot about how genius it all is, when really it's just awkwardly written.
  • which isn't to say i don't enjoy reading novels that make you work for it, that aren't spare in style like say, Margaret Atwood or Kent Haruf.  even j.d. salinger is sometimes over-the-top, and packs a lot into sentences than run on, but at least he makes an effort to make make them readable.
  • the shrill, martyring, passive-aggressive mom archetype? again?  that just always makes me think an author has mommy issues.  maybe that's why franzen was such a dick to oprah.  (although given a chance, i might also act like an impudent child with oprah myself. i can see the appeal.)
  • it must be so hard to be so well-read, so well-educated, and so rich.  poor, poor lamberts.
 i still might change my mind about all this.  just so you know.

*i know, right?! i'm a dick!

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