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The blurb for this book pretty much says it all. I actually think that the essay form suits Franzen much better than the novel. Here, he can just tell us what he thinks without the need to invent characters and situations and write a whole novel as a vehicle for his ideas. As for the ideas themselves, love 'em or hate 'em, they are wonderfully written and sharply argued. The meditation on the role of the writer was intriguing; the insight into Oprah's book club was priceless; everything to do with his parents was deeply moving and just beautiful. Clever stuff. Top marks.
This is a review of the kindle edition only. It's littered with intrusive OCR errors, especially frequent confusion of "the" and "die". Clearly no-one at the publisher actually bothered to read the text before seliing it.
Great writing from a great writer. Depressing reading for aspiring authors. Of historical interest now as many of the essays have been overtaken by events - for example his rift on young people and their texting habits - all well work reading nonetheless