Follow the Author
Purity Mass Market Paperback – 2 August 2016
|New from||Used from|
Mass Market Paperback
Enhance your purchase
Purity Tyler, known to all as Pip, is an outspoken, forthright young woman struggling to make a life for herself. She sleeps in an rickety commune in Oakland. She's in love with an unavailable older man and is saddled with staggering college debt. She has a crazy mother and doesn't know who her father is. A chance encounter leads her to an internship in South America with the world-famous Sunlight Project, the president of which is Andreas Wolf, a charismatic genius who grew up privileged but disaffected in the German Democratic Republic. Like numerous women before her, she becomes obsessed with Andreas, and they have an intense, unsettling relationship. Eventually, he finds her work back in the United States.
What lies underneath is a wild tale of hidden identities, secret wealth, neurotic fidelity, sociopathy, and murder. The truth of Pip's parentage lies at the centre of this maelstrom, but before it is resolved Franzen takes us from the rain-drenched forests of northern California, to paranoid East Berlin before the fall of the Wall, to the paradisiacal mountain valleys of Bolivia, exposing us to the vagaries of radical politics, the problematic seductions of the internet, and the no-holds-barred war between the sexes. Featuring an unforgettable cast of inimitable Franzenian characters, Purity is deeply troubling, richly moving, and hilarious. A Globe and Mail Best Book of 2015
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of 2015
A Financial Times Best Book of 2015
A Guardian Best Book of 2015
A New York Times Notable 100 Book of the Year
"Mr. Franzen's most fleet-footed, least self-conscious and most intimate novel yet. . . . In Purity, he demonstrates his ease at conjuring whole worlds with a couple taps on the keyboard. . . . Mr. Franzen has added a new octave to his voice." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Purity is a novel of plenitude and panorama. . . . It can suggest a sort of openness and can have a strange, insistent way of pulling us in, holding our attention." --Colm Toibin, The New York Times
"Franzen's prose is alive with intelligence." --The Atlantic
"There is murder, sex, money and more than a few scenes in which you'll laugh out loud. . . . Franzen masterfully connects the gritty dots." --The Vancouver Sun
"No one who loves Franzen's books will regret reading this one. Purity is engaging and brilliant. Few contemporary authors make characters as vitally alive and heartbreaking in their failures as Franzen does. . . . A work to be reckoned with." --Toronto Star
"Gracefully written and extremely funny . . . It's the ultimate tell-not-show novel, with Franzen launching long inquisitions into people's backstories and psychologies. He's so good at it that you often feel, at the end of a paragraph, as though you've had the rug swept out from under you but somehow remained in your chair--he builds toward dramatic pronouncements that are piercing and specific and yet broadly human enough so that the reader glimpses him or herself there, too." --The Globe and Mail
"An expansive, brainy, yet inviting novel that leaves few foibles unexplored." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Franzen writes with a perfectly balanced fluency. . . . Still brilliant and endlessly allusive . . . wholly authentic." --The Washington Post
"Franzen is an exceptional writer, more skilled than most other men or women at producing brutal insights, perfectly evocative turns of phrase, and genuine hilarity. . . . Fascinating and poignant." --The Guardian (UK)
"Fierce writing, and it does what fiction is supposed to, forcing us to peel back the surfaces, to see how love can turn to desolation, how we are betrayed by what we believe. . . . It remains compelling to read Franzen confront his demons, which are not just his but everyone's." --Los Angeles Times
"Purity has a plot thats a real page-turner, with characters you'll remember and dialogue that's pitch perfect." --Marie Claire (UK)
"Reading Jonathan Franzen on form is like watching a baseball star toss a ball, knowing that behind the casual gesture is a virtuoso talent and 10,000 hours of practice." --The Guardian (UK)
"Dickensian names are no accident in this bursting-at-the-seams tale, which offers up murder, perverse sex, Freudian mother-son and father-daughter angst and anti-technology paranoia to feast upon." --USA Today
"Franzen, as usual, writes superb prose. . . . Franzen aims for the heart as much as the mind, and in the end he scores a clean hit." --Winnipeg Free Press
"A superb novel . . . fascinating characters and a deeply satisfying plot." --Slate
"Masterfully wrought . . . A perfectly paced, sharply observed, consummately crafted narrative of secrets, sex, international espionage and missing nuclear weapons . . . Purity should be a blockbuster." --Los Angeles Review of Books
"No one is better than Franzen at showing small lives are never small to those who live them." --GQ (UK)
"Franzen is the most intelligent novelist of my generation, and this shows when he allows his prodigious imagination to flow into the crevices of his invented world and give it the texture of lived experience. . . . These pages are brilliant." --New Republic
"Absorbing . . . Franzen expands his great theme of the rub between close relationships and personal freedom to encompass the push and pull between openness and privacy." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Jonathan Franzen's most recent novel is, like its enormously successful predecessors The Corrections and Freedom, a big, inventive and exuberant book about the mores, and the modes of engagement, of contemporary culture. . . . Vast, rambling and funny. . . . This is a book in which there is much to admire and more to enjoy." --The Observer (UK)
"Conversational, enormously intelligent prose that wears its subtlety and precision lightly."
--The Independent (UK)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 125011618X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250116185
- Dimensions : 10.41 x 2.79 x 17.02 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Review this product
Top reviews from Australia
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
As expected, I found the first quarter to be exceptionally good - loved it. But then, I went into a complete about-turn - and hated the next third.
You do confuse me. But then the last third you brought me back from the brink.
Apart from finding that you did not write at all well in Pip's voice for this last third - I plodded on - completed the book and can recommend that others readers come on board and find their own 'choose your own adventure'.
This is a very contemporary novel and should be read, but is it up to Franzen's past glories? I think not.
Top reviews from other countries
It is pretty well written and often captivating and thought provoking at times, though it does seem to go a little deep to the point where it feels like a slog to get through those heavy sections... maybe that says more about me than the book though!
The book itself is a nice read most of the time but does have some somewhat implausible characters resulting in the plot becoming unusual and almost unbelievable at times. Yes, I am aware it is a work of fiction, I just like that fiction to have some semblance in reality which I think helps to keeps me on the hook.
The characters are at times over the top but still feel unfulfilling when it comes to depth and development, leaving a feeling that a lighter touch might sometimes be better when getting into the more intense psychological nature of the protagonists, while other characters could do with more than a very basic, cursory outline. The story is alluring until midway through when the key plot twist is revealed, in my opinion, a little too early... from there, the story drifts into monotonous, surface scratching insights which combined with a very predictable chain of events mean that the end of the book draws to a lackluster finish. I'm not sure whether the quality of the writing has suffered in comparison to his other books, or whether the attempt at something different has led to a decent book, but something which could have been a lot better.
All in all an enjoyable book and I would recommend it, but it's not on the same level as Freedom or The Corrections... which I would highly recommend reading if you enjoyed this book or if you haven't read it yet but are looking for something similar. Unrelatable and stereotyped characters combined with a story with not so much purpose as it has brashness, make it a far cry from his other works which resonated much more with me. Hopefully this will be a platform for Franzen to create more like this, but with a more fine tuned approach. Recommended!
Thanks for reading my review!
If you enjoyed "Freedom" you won't be disappointed with Purity. Its a brilliant read.
I would read it again one day: but there are so many books I haven’t yet read once!