How to Be Alone

How to Be Alone

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Passionate, strong-minded nonfiction from the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections was the best-loved and most-written-about novel of 2001. Nearly every in-depth review of it discussed what became known as qThe Harper's Essay, q Franzen's controversial 1996 investigation of the fate of the American novel. This essay is reprinted for the first time in How to be Alone, along with the personal essays and the dead-on reportage that earned Franzen a wide readership before the success of The Corrections. Although his subjects range from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each piece wrestles with familiar themes of Franzen's writing: the erosion of civic life and private dignity and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Recent pieces include a moving essay on his father's stuggle with Alzheimer's disease (which has already been reprinted around the world) and a rueful account of Franzen's brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author. As a collection, these essays record what Franzen calls qa movement away from an angry and frightened isolation toward an acceptance--even a celebration--of being a reader and a writer.q At the same time they show the wry distrust of the claims of technology and psychology, the love-hate relationship with consumerism, and the subversive belief in the tragic shape of the individual life that help make Franzen one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics.JJM11 (The Harpera#39;s Essay) y despair about the American novel began in the winter of 1991, when I fled to Yaddo, the artistsa#39; colony in upstate New York, to write the last two chapters of my second book. ... yearsa#39; worth of communal property, and taking nighttime walks on avenues where Russian, Hindi, Korean, and Spanish were spoken in equal measure. ... The country was preparing for war ecstatically, with rhetoric supplied by George Bush: aquot;Vital issues of principle are at stake.

Title:How to Be Alone
Author:Jonathan Franzen
Publisher:Macmillan - 2007-05-15


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