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All five members of the Lambert family get their due, as everybody's lives swirl out of control. Paterfamilias Alfred is slipping into dementia, even as one of his inventions inspires a pharmaceutical giant to revolutionize treatment of his disease. His stubborn wife, Enid, specializes in denial; so do their kids, each in an idiosyncratic way. Their hepcat son, Chip, lost a college sinecure by seducing a student, and his new career as a screenwriter is in peril. Chip's sister, Denise, is a chic chef perpetually in hot water, romantically speaking; banker brother Gary wonders if his stifling marriage is driving him nuts. We inhabit these troubled minds in turn, sinking into sorrow punctuated by laughter, reveling in Franzen's satirical eye:
Gary in recent years had observed, with plate tectonically cumulative anxiety, that population was continuing to flow out of the Midwest and toward the cooler coasts.... Gary wished that all further migration [could] be banned and all Midwesterners encouraged to revert to eating pasty foods and wearing dowdy clothes and playing board games, in order that a strategic national reserve of cluelessness might be maintained, a wilderness of taste which would enable people of privilege, like himself, to feel extremely civilized in perpetuity.Franzen is funny and on the money. This book puts him on the literary map. --Tim Appelo
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
After reading some of the top reviews and hearing about it from other sources…and then buying it, I could not believe haw bad this book is. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Claudiu Popescu
The first Franzen book I've read, and I was pretty glued in. There were family descriptions that hit way too close to home, and the way he writes is gorgeous. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Russ
This family illustrates how our constant efforts to "fix' our lives leave us unable to see and hear each other, unable to see the true love and affection in our seemingly... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Dorothy
Expected a great book but it gets bogged down with boring detail that has nothing to do with the characters or story.Published 13 days ago by debob
Terrific writing, interesting characters and situations (especially Denise). It entertains me while teaching me a lot about people.Published 17 days ago by A. Maturin
I have never hated a book as much as this one. Ever. And I read a lot. I don't even understand why it made me so angry. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Lucy
It's a great, meaty novel. A terrific read with a real punch.Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
Dreadful. Did not finish the book, despite the author's reputation. Cant even remember what it was about, but the language is not to my taste. Sorry.Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer