Anyone who, like "Oh Tannebaum", thinks that Jonathan Franzen's books are: "a masterpiece of American literature" or that the New Yorker "is the premier forum for the American short story" or who publishes the likes of Neil Gordon's review of Handke's DEL GREDOS, and refuses to run the slightest critique of an abomination, ought not to be the editor of the Book Review, which once, in Harvey Shapiro, had someone knew to distinguish 'tween slick entertainment and the real think. A friend, even harsher than I, just wrote me:
"Franzen is for the saps who buy their literature at COSTCO and BJs it is not even the honest real trash they sell in the books section at WALMART...it is actuallu best compared to books by Vance Packard: The Status Seekers etc... "
Peace and War
By SAM TANENHAUS
Published: August 19, 2010
Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, “Freedom,” like his previous one, “The Corrections,” is a masterpiece of American fiction. The two books have much in common. Once again Franzen has fashioned a capacious but intricately ordered narrative that in its majestic sweep seems to gather up every fresh datum of our shared millennial life. Franzen knows that college freshmen are today called “first years,” like tender shoots in an overplanted garden; that a high-minded mom, however ruthless in her judgments of her neighbors’ ethical lapses, will condemn them with no epithet harsher than “weird”; that reckless drivers who barrel across lanes are “almost always youngish men for whom the use of blinkers was apparently an affront to their masculinity.”