Freedom Reread (Rereadings)
Few writers rankle like Jonathan Franzen. Despite popular acclaim, robust sales, and august literary laurels, Franzen's polarizing persona shares the spotlight with--and sometimes steals it from--his tragicomic novels of Midwestern family life.
In this reconsideration of Freedom (2010), L. Gibson explores the difficulty of coming to terms with Jonathan Franzen. Freedom Reread considers the author's distinctive narrative technique in light of the contradictions for which he is renowned: widely read curmudgeon, tweeted-about luddite, self-proclaimed partisan of fiction who frequently announces the novel's death. Bookended by autofictional forays into the process of--and resistance to--taking a definite stance on Franzen, this book places Freedom in conversation with a playful, idiosyncratic array of interlocutors, including Middlemarch and You've Got Mail, Amitav Ghosh on climate change and Susan Sontag on metaphor, speculative fiction and Succession.
Avowedly ambivalent about Franzen, Gibson offers both a fresh appreciation of the author's work and a searching critical analysis of his pronouncements on the novel's fate. Wide-ranging and stylistically ambitious, Freedom Reread delivers an assured, artful inquiry into Franzen's novelistic technique and public persona.