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    The Corrections (Harper Perennial) (Paperback) By (author) Jonathan Franzen


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    DescriptionFrom the author of 'Freedom', a richly realistic and darkly hilarious masterpiece about a family breakdown in an age of easy fixes. After fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity, and their children have long since fled for the catastrophes of their own lives. As Alfred's condition worsens and the Lamberts are forced to face their secrets and failures, Enid sets her heart on one last family Christmas. Bringing the old world of civic virtue and sexual inhibition into violent collision with the era of hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare and globalised greed, 'The Corrections' confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of the most brilliant interpreters of the American soul.

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    A 21st Century urban epic4

    Monika Stasiak The Corrections is an epic of American middle class life in the 21st Century. Its character development is its standout feature. Each of the main characters contributes a stream of consciousness narrative episode; these could be strong stand-alone stories but are also elegantly linked to each other. All characters are genotypes in America's contemporary cultural landscape, but Franzen delves deeply into their minds to create individuals and consequently each character is exquisitely full of memories, stereotypical behaviours and external accessories. Franzen masterfully creates layers of interaction and events that map each character's path; this is symbolic of emotional and physical 'clutter' created by families across generations.

    As a sub-theme, Franzen explores the concept of a tragedy most powerfully delivered as a farce, but this is also a skilful element of his narrative. Characters verge on hysterical and hilarious, illuminating the human strategy of 'numbing' pain by shrouding it in caricature. This technique encourages the reader to engage in the humour also: if you didn't laugh, you'd cry. by Monika Stasiak

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