(or at least, that's what I like to think)
This is the third novel from 2001 National Book Award winner, Jonathan Franzen (The corrections). First published by Fourth Estate-London in 2010, this more than 700 pages novel is an extremely addictive portrait of all the bad and good things, feelings and behaviors that make us just human.
The Berglunds, once an almost perfect family, have become a pretty dysfunctional disaster. While Walter and Patty don’t seem to know how to communicate anymore, their son Joey moves to their neighbor’s house to live with his Republican girlfriend family. On the other hand, Richard Katz, a friend and rock singer keeps appearing in the Berglunds lives, as a competitive brother to Walter and as a more than a friend to Patty…
Franzen uses an interesting narrative structure that alternates several characters points of view without moving out from the third person voice, (except for a couple of chapters that are written as a biography, therefore in first person voice by one of the main characters.). This narrative structure, combined with past and present of the characters helps the reader to understand each character’s feelings, desires and actions in order to emphasize with almost all of them. Through the story of the Berglunds, Franzen has created an amazing and detailed family portrait that excels in showing (and telling) all about human idiosyncrasy and all the things we do to ourselves and the people we love while searching for the meaning and happiness in our lives. As humorous and dramatic as life itself, this book will catch your attention and heart at once, up to the point that you’ll miss it once you finish it. Enjoy while it lasts!
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