Longing as, not in, ‘Freedom’

I might have to add Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom to my reading list just because of the reviews. “The ‘Freedom’ Agenda” by David Brooks challenges the way Americans construct literature. He says — pointing back to Thoreau’s “lives of quiet desperation”– that authors have become so caught up in demystifying idealism that they have also decimated any longing for ordinary heroes, for extraordinary lives, or for the admirable working out of ideals.

Here’s a teaser:

Social critics from Thoreau to Allan Bloom to the S.D.S. authors of The Port Huron Statement also made critiques about the flatness of bourgeois life, but at least they tried to induce their readers to long for serious things. “Freedom” is a brilliantly written book that is nonetheless trapped in an intellectual cul de sac — overly gimlet-eyed about American life and lacking an alternative vision of higher ground.

Check it out!

Have you read Franzen’s book? If so, what did you think?

Thanks to Brooks for getting me thinking on this Thursday morning.


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