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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

New and notable: Purity, by Jonathan Franzen


September 1st was a big day! It was the official release date not only for Elena Ferrante's new novel, but also for the latest effort from one of America's preeminent literary Jonathans. And that's a phrase he coined -- see page 207 of Purity, in which an aging professor discusses contemporary publishing with the title character:

"'So many Jonathans. A plague of literary Jonathans. If you read only the New York Times Book Review, you’d think it was the most common male name in America. Synonymous with talent, greatness. Ambition, vitality.'"

So you might say this is Franzen's most self-referential book. He's willing to poke fun at himself, or at least signal his awareness of the ways in which he is sometimes made fun of. Having been caricatured as a pompous white male Luddite contemptuous of the frivolous tweeting, Facebooking masses, he's taken the internet as the target of his newest work. Check it out in store!



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