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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A truly incredible book. I could go on for quite awhile about the many, many things I enjoyed about it - the stellar writing, the masterfully created characters that go hatable to... Read morePublished 20 hours ago by Ryan Gorman
A novel in every sense, thoroughly developed and complex in plot and character development. Great mental workout, great feat.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Basically, this is a story about a family. The reader is given access to the mind of every member of the family. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Sergiu Pobereznic (author)
I especially liked the writing. The book kept my attention.Published 19 days ago by Claire V. Wolkind
I couldn't get through it. This author's writing style is super annoying. He combines disparate thoughts in a single sentence and takes forever to get to the point. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Jason M. Plank
What a tedious piece of crap.
Or as Jonathan Franzen might write: 'A turgid amalgam of confluent ambiguities intersecting in a sublimation of hidden banalities whose pitch... Read more
I enjoyed the complexity and development of the characters but I got bored by the lengthy and repetitive descriptions.Published 28 days ago by Ama Kalma