Books / Events

Give me Freedom or give me Franzen

On Monday, 19 Sept 2011, Charlotte Rampling will mark the launch of the French edition of Jonathan Franzen’s recently-published book, Freedom, with a reading at the Théâtre de l’Odéon.  Tickets aren’t too expensive and you might still be able to get one — info here.

In case you missed the media blitz surrounding this book when it came out in English-speaking markets, Freedom is very much a reflection of the principle and cultural phenomenon that many Americans grapple with on a regular basis.  The story revolves around the lives of a ‘normal’ Minnesotan family — man and wife who met in college, one daughter, one son, all are sharp as tacks, but no cat in sight — and their travails as they individually seek meaning in their respective worlds where they would seem to be surrounded by idiots.

Franzen’s prose oscillates between that of a Harlequin novel and an informed activist.  Whatever gets you to turn the page, Freedom is worth the read, as it covers the cultural shift in the US during the first decade of the new millenium that most Americans would just assume forget.  Franzen captures the American naughties with impressive detail, from the birth of the extreme-right infested exurbs, to the fall of the Twin Towers, to armaments procurement during the Iraq war, to the dirty business of environmental conservation during the Bush administration.

Thanks to Professor, Karen Darmon for contributing to this post.