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The Discomfort Zone


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/ Key title A brilliant personal history from the award-winning author of 'The Corrections'. / The captivating memoir from one of America's finest novelists -- 'The Discomfort Zone' is Franzen's own personal story of growing up in 1970's America. / Jonathan Franzen is an award winning, internationally renowned bestselling author. He was named one of the best American novelists under forty by Granta and the New Yorker. / 'The Corrections' was winner of the National Book Award in 2001 and has sold over 250,000 copies in the UK alone -- it is reissued with a stunning new cover to co-incide with 'The Discomfort Zone' paperback.

About the Author

Jonathan Franzen is the author of `The Twenty-Seventh City', `Strong Motion' and `The Corrections'. His fiction and non-fiction appear frequently in the New Yorker and Harper's, and he was named one of the best American novelists under forty by Granta and the New Yorker. He lives in New York City.


Adult/High School-In this entertaining portrait of the artist as a young geek, Franzen is as offhand about his geekdom and failures as he is about his talents and successes. He retraces his childhood resistance to his parents' way of life as he became a rebel in his own cause. He confesses that he has become a bird-watcher as an adult; he is like an interesting variety of one of the birds that he enjoys finding. Even while describing his personal oddities and those in the people around him, he finds awkward beauty in their quirks and imperfections. The book begins and ends with the death of his mother. Their difficult relationship is one of many he examines. He is a human watcher willing to report in detail on behavior, whether that of his parents, loved ones, or himself. As he studies who he has been and who he is now, Franzen discovers truths about the world around him. This is a world in which many teens find themselves, and seeing the ways the author navigates and survives can entertain and comfort while offering assistance in the process of self-discovery.-Will Marston, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'His discreetly devastating comic timing derives from the tension between the optimism of his ambition and the reality of the attempts to deal with the experiences that have marked his career as one America's best novelist and essayist.' Times 'Franzen's memoir is cleverly written and often fun to read!He's funny and self deprecating!' Sunday Telegraph 'Wonderful and supremely personal!' Time Magazine 'Reading such honest, awkward, tender pieces as these, the socially isolated individual may feel that little bit less lonely.' New Statesman. 'the close of this book is almost miraculous; we are reminded that Franzen, at his best, can write like a dream.' FT Magazine 'Just when you think you've had it with inconsequential memoirs along comes Jonathan Franzen to remind you that, in the right hands, even the most slight material can spring unnervingly to life. "The Discomfort Zone" is deeply loveable: clever, honest, brilliantly well-written and -- rarest of all -- funny!Franzen is an unusually plain-hearted writer -- you feel that he could not dissemble if he tried, which is rare in an artist -- and it is that which gives everything he does its unique flavour.' Rachel Cooke The Standard and The Scotsman. 'Beautifully crafted.' Metro 'There is a direct honesty behind these portraits that is admirable!this new volume will be rewarding for readers who enjoy Franzen's often humorous attempts to anatomize his divided feelings of shame and his social anxieties.' Times Literary Supplement 'In the best sense, this book takes Franzen towards that hoped-for comic archetype. He has the honesty to let the trivial and the weight co-exist and, like Schulz, has the knack of making his self-absorption universal!In our age of harsher polarities and extremes, his knowing elegies for that median time and place make luminous, essential reading.' The Observer

National Book Award-winner Franzen's first foray into memoir begins and ends with his mother's death in Franzen's adulthood. In between, he takes a sarcastic, humorous and intimate look at the painful awkwardness of adolescence. As a young observer rather than a participant, Franzen offers a fresh take on the sometimes tumultuous, sometimes uneventful America of the 1960s and '70s. A not very popular, bookish kid, Franzen (The Corrections) and his high school buddies, in one of the book's most memorable episodes, attempt to loop a tire, ring-toss-style, over their school's 40-foot flag pole as part of a series of flailing pranks. Franzen watches his older brother storm out of the house toward a wayward hippe life, while he ultimately follows along his father's straight-and-narrow path. Franzen traces back to his teenage years the roots of his enduring trouble with women, his pursuit of a precarious career as a writer and his recent life-affirming obsession with bird-watching. While Franzen's family was unmarked by significant tragedy, the common yet painful contradictions of growing up are at the heart of this wonderful book (parts of which appeared in the New Yorker): "You're miserable and ashamed if you don't believe your adolescent troubles matter, but you're stupid if you do." (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Portrait of the artist as he grows from a "small and fundamentally ridiculous person" in the 1970s Midwest to a National Book Award winner. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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