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The Discomfort Zone
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Brilliant, award-winning memoir from the author of 'The Corrections'. / The captivating biography from one of America's finest novelists. / 'The Corrections' sold over 200,000 copies in the UK. / Widespread serialisation in major broadsheets anticipated, and guaranteed major review and feature coverage.

About the Author

Jonathan Franzen is the author of `The Twenty-Seventh City', `Strong Motion' and `The Corrections'. His fiction and nonfiction 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.

Reviews

In this collection of six long essays, Franzen, the author of The Corrections (the most-written-about novel of 2001 and the winner of that year's National Book Award for fiction) and two other novels and an essay collection, focuses on himself: growing up in Webster Groves, MO (a suburb of St. Louis); family matters; love and loss; and the forces that made him. Here, the personal is also the political; nowhere is this made clearer than in the last essay, where Franzen paces out some wandering, but wonderful, pathways between his environmental consciousness, his love relationships, and the real plight of wild birds. Franzen is extremely funny, winning, and not incidentally an astute social commentator. As in his previous work, the style here is energetic and engaged; many ideas are woven together, not often quickly or easily; this is not for lazy readers. A possible choice for nonfiction book clubs; strongly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/06.]-Terren Ilana Wein, Univ. of Chicago Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Praise for `The Corrections':

`A book which is funny, moving, generous, brutal and intelligent, and which poses the ultimate question, what life is for - and that is as much as anyone could ask.' Blake Morrison, Guardian

'For anyone who has ever found themselves guiltily yearning for an Anne Tyler while in the middle of an Updike or Wolfe. The Lamberts are utterly believable, and once they have all told their stories you can't help but sympathise with them. Be prepared to be moved.' Laurence Phelan, Independent on Sunday

'Compelling. A pleasure from beginning to end. Franzen, in one leap, has put himself into the league of Updike & Roth. That's why there is so much excitement about it.' David Sexton, Evening Standard

'A novel of outstanding sympathy, wit, moral intelligence and pathos, a family saga told with stylistic brio and psychological and political insight. No British novelist is currently writing at this pitch.' Jeremy Treglowen, Financial Times

'Impossible to dislike, an unpretentious page-turner.' Zadie Smith, Guardian (Books of the Year)

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.

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.

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