Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Freedom," by Jonathan Franzen

If you have a few days to read a substantial novel, “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen is a rewarding experience. The story of the Bergklund family is a portrait of the USA in the George W. Bush years and the beginning of the Obama administration. This matters, because the story of the relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and children, is set against the background of a political landscape where the relationship between money and politics is bitterly criticized. The power of the wealthy families is shown in the well connected Jewish family that is “explored” by Joey Bergklund, or the failure of the grandparents of the family  to support her daughter (Joey’s mother later in time) because the rapist was the son of a family that funded liberal causes. The use individuals that have everything material make of freedom and the competition between them to have fulfilling lives is the topic of the book. Being a portrait of contemporary America, depression is perhaps in too many places, and perhaps there is also too much demonstration of the author being well versed in things such as mobile messages, social networks and e-mails. But it is a page turner. And take your time to read the final pages until the end: it is a nice ending.

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