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Crossroads: The latest novel from the international bestselling author of The Corrections: Book 1 Paperback – 5 October 2021
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AN INDEPENDENT BOOK OF THE YEAR
Set in a historical moment of moral crisis, Crossroads is the stunning foundation of a sweeping investigation of human mythologies, as the Hildebrandt family navigate the political and social crosscurrents of the past fifty years
A WHITE REVIEW BOOK OF THE YEAR
A LIT HUB BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
‘His best novel yet … A Middlemarch-like triumph’ Telegraph
‘Crossroads is the spiritual successor to The Corrections . . . It is a testament to Franzen’s authorial habits of empathy, his curiosity about the lives of others, his efforts in a land of cliche to add twists to easy assumptions, that you are likely to find yourself caring about how things turn out for each of the Hildebrandts equally’ Observer
It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless – unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh-graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.
Jonathan Franzen’s novels are celebrated for their unforgettably vivid characters and their keen-eyed take on the complexities of contemporary America. Now, for the first time, in Crossroads, Franzen explores the history of a generation. With characteristic humour and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that feels no less immediate.
A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a historical moment of moral crisis. Jonathan Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.
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Praise for Crossroads:
‘His talents as a comic storyteller are such that his capacious tales are a treat to get lost in. This one is no exception … This is a novel whose momentum often derives from the altered states of its characters ― obsession; intoxication; lust; religious fervour; mania ― and the humour is usually of the painful variety as their lives uniformly crumble and they agonise over how ― or indeed whether ― to be good’ Daily Mail
‘[A] pleasure bomb of a novel … Few [writers] can take human contradiction and make it half as entertaining and intimate as Franzen does … A magnificent portrait of an American family on the brink’ Vogue
‘In Crossroads, Jonathan Franzen goes back to family-anatomising basics – and it's his best novel yet … The result is a Middlemarch-like triumph’ Telegraph
‘Franzen has laid the ground beautifully, and his first act is intoxicating – a luxuriant domestic drama that opens out into politics, running against the grain of the counterculture with its focus on the friction between conservatism and radicalism, Christianity and social activism’ Guardian
‘Crossroads is classic Franzen fodder: a slice of suburban life ripe not for satire but for the far deadlier scrutiny that comes from taking it seriously’ New Yorker
‘A mellow, marzipan-hued ’70s-era heartbreaker. Crossroads is warmer than anything [Franzen has] yet written, wider in its human sympathies, weightier of image and intellect’ New York Times Book Review
‘The compelling dialogue, the authenticity of place, time and character, the assured insights and the exquisite minutiae of description, all confirm that the reader is in the hands of a true modern master … a simply stunning novel’ iNews
‘A firecracker’ Irish Times
‘A mesmerising tale … he writes sentences that are as addictive as opioids’ Herald
The latest novel from the international bestselling author of The Corrections
- Publisher : 4th Estate GB (5 October 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 592 pages
- ISBN-10 : 000830890X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0008308902
- Dimensions : 15.3 x 3.5 x 23.4 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Chapter by chapter, the story of family developments is carried forward by concentrating on one character at a time. Franzen builds a complex, layered view of each psyche and how much each person knows and understands the others which frankly, is gob-smacking in its brilliance. Our sympathies wax and wane for each of them as the annual Crossroads trip to help out in Navaho country approaches and Russ does all he can to seal his fate with Frances. Once there, there’s a disaster that has far reaching consequences and by the end of the novel you wonder what’s in store for this fractured family. Luckily, this is the first of a trilogy. This would be an excellent novel for a non-Christian to read to understand how Christianity has formed the culture of the US. It’s very worthy, except when it’s not. This is one of those books that make you dubious about picking up the next book on your pile (or tablet) because no doubt, the next book will not be as good.
Top reviews from other countries
Someone may say after reading it, I didn’t like it. Fair enough. But, again my opinion only, it is a pleasure and a privilege to be a contemporary of Mr. Franzen and his work. And to be able to tell a spouse, a friend, a child (a grandchild? years and years later), well I remember October 2021 when Franzen’s latest book came out, there it is by the way on the middle shelf. See? Stout and proud the way hardcovers are. I thought I would wait for a couple of months, sort of wait for the noise and excitement to settle down. But no, a week after its release there I was sitting on the sofa engrossed in it.
I am so much looking forward to the next two books.