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Thursday, August 27, 2015

franzen a david brooks type writer, stinker prose

Franzen is a Pundit dissembling as a novelist.

Here the link to the NY Times Book Review review which strikes me as sensible as compared to the others I have read, the Guardian's
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/aug/26/purity-by-jonathan-franzen-review
 was worth reading though it did not give a clear idea of the book as Colm Tobin does. The three excerpts re-inforce my judgment Franzen is a Pundit dissembling as a novelist.


The church on Siegfeldstrasse was open to anyone who embarrassed the Republic, and Andreas Wolf was so much of an embarrassment that he actually resided there, in the basement of the rectory, but unlike the others—the true Christian believers, the friends of the Earth, the misfits who defended human rights or didn’t want to fight in World War III—he was no less an embarrassment to himself.
For Andreas, the most achievedly totalitarian thing about the Republic was its ridiculousness. It was true that people who tried to cross the death strip were unridiculously shot, but to him this was more like an oddity of geometry, a discontinuity between Eastern flatness and Western three-dimensionality that you had to assume to make the math work. As long as you avoided the border, the worst that could happen was that you’d be spied on and picked up and interrogated, do prison time and have your life wrecked. However inconvenient this might be for the individual, it was leavened by the silliness of the larger apparatus—the risible language of “class enemy” and “counter-revolutionary elements,” the absurd devotion to evidentiary protocol. The authorities would never just dictate your confession or denunciation and force or forge your signature. There had to be photos and recordings, scrupulously referenced dossiers, invocations of democratically enacted laws. The Republic was heartbreakinglyGerman in its striving to be logically consistent and do things right. It was like the most earnest of little boys, trying to impress and outdo its Soviet father. It was even loath to falsify election returns. And mostly out of fear, but maybe also out of pity for that little boy, who believed in socialism the way children in the West believed in a flying Christkind who lit the candles on the Christmas tree and left presents underneath it, the people all went to the polls and voted for the Party. Even the dissidents spoke the language of reform, not overthrow. Everyday life was merely constrained, not tragically terrible. (Olympic bronze was the Berliner Zeitungs idea of calamity.) And so Andreas, whose embarrassment it was to be the megalomaniacal antithesis of a dictatorship too ridiculous to be worthy of megalomania, kept his distance from the other misfits hiding behind the church’s skirts. They disappointed him aesthetically, they offended his sense of specialness, and they wouldn’t have trusted him anyway. He performed his Siegfeldstrasse ironies privately.



In the heart of the heart of the country, Purity “Pip” Tyler was on her knees in front of a toilet, sifting through the soggy logs of her own fecal matter, wishing she could be anywhere else, doing anything else, particularly birdwatching. Like her great grandparents, who had moved to the Midwest a century earlier in search of cheap, arable land and found themselves nearly stamped out of existence by The Depression, Pip fashioned herself an amateur ornithologist. In her earliest memories, power lines sagged into smiles beneath the many tiny weights of sparrows, backfiring trucks sent a flock of warblers winding into the sky. In her family, birdwatching was tradition. Her great grandparents, once they’d somewhat established themselves in Hoover’s America, spent weekends spying wrens in Appalachia. Her grandparents took bus tours down the Pacific Coast, searching, her own mother and father spent every summer crisscrossing New England in a Winnebago, their enormous binoculars trained on the trees. Like all children unwittingly do, she had inherited other,



Purity in Oakland MONDAY "Oh pussycat, I'm so glad to hear your voice," the girl's mother said on the telephone. "My body is betraying me again. Sometimes I think my life is nothing but one long process of bodily betrayal." "Isn't that everybody's life?" the girl, Pip, said. She'd taken to calling her mother midway through her lunch break at Renewable Solutions. It brought her some relief from the feeling that she wasn't suited for her job, that she had a job that nobody could be suited for, or that she was a person unsuited for any kind of job; and then, after twenty minutes, she could honestly say that she needed to get back to work. 

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