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The Corrections: A Novel Paperback – September 1, 2002
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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.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The Corrections is either a five star, or a one star book for most people. . . depending on your perspective. I graded the book a three, because I had quite a lot of both reactions that I share below. In deciding whether or not you should read this book, ignore the book's award and the book's controversy, but do pay attention to the next two paragraphs.
Here's who will hate it: Anyone who dislikes reading about unending emotional turmoil, depression, dementia, people messing up their lives, ugly family scenes, emotionally cold families, and the views of the well-educated, self-satisfied towards everyone else. Further groups who will be offended will include those who dislike extreme writing styles, slowly developing stories, and a strong sense of irony. Also, anyone from Lithuania or of Lithuanian ancestry will probably feel offended.
Here's who will love it: Anyone who liked John Cheever's Wapshot Chronicle and Wapshot Scandal, but would also like to see more of the interaction among the family members; those who enjoy writing that takes characters to the edge and tests them thoroughly with temptation and challenge in order to let their actions describe their personalities; those who enjoy satirical treatment of foibles of the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom; and those who would like to read about a family with more problems than their own has. The writing itself will interest people who like to see new forms of narration, and appreciate an ability to switch smoothly between stream of consciousness and straight narration.
If you are in the latter category, read on.Read more ›
The myopic Enid and I are sisters. The highly principled, stoic Albert and my husband (albeit, sans illness) are made from the same cloth. We have a "Gary" and a "Denise" and five more independent, self-reliant, contributing members of society who refuse to be "Dollys" in a culture of consensus mentality.
Not EVERYONE has a hunky-dory existence. Some of us intelligent, well-educated people are struggling. Our children are far from perfect and struggling too. But we get up every morning, put one foot in front of the other, do the best we can, and hide our secrets behind forced smiles.
I was awestruck by JF's ability to get inside our minds and speak our thoughts, fears, so well. The dichotomy between the parents and their baby-boomer children, the difference in priorities, each defining "family values" as it suits them from a smorgasbord of choices, no two alike. It's amazing that, in the end, each Lambert does the right thing. They are a family after all.
God bless you, Jonathan Franzen, for writing a novel that needed to be written. Somehow I feel less alone knowing Enid is with me. For the rest of you naysayers, finish the book. Read and savor the first few pages. The writing is smooth as silk...
Franzen is an extremely observant man. He can capture and dissect people with a perception and thoroughness that any writer could envy. He notices and describes the actions and manipulations of relationships, the effects of needing love and recognition, the sometimes funny but often just unkind interactions between people who do not understand themselves or others. He is dead on particularly, in the clever manipulation of the Yuppie character, Gary, by his wife. He is persuasive in the sexual character of Denise. Chip is the comic character and his scenes veer between merely pathetic and truly funny. The characters are recognizable, and generally carry the burden of their assignments well.
The book is a series of stories of the main characters, each of whom are 'correcting' what came before. They want to correct each other, their parents, their partners, their siblings and themselves. Each of them seems to think that if they change a behavior, the outward appearance of their lives, they will be successful is becoming the person they want to be. Or more accurately, avoid becoming the person they do not want to be. The inward journeys of the characters do not go deep. These are not thoughtful people. There is no moral basis for action, no questioning, no intellectual component to their lives, no weighing of choices, no wrestling with larger themes. Their lives and decisions are nearly always a reaction to something else and Franzen cooly, coldly and unkindly just watches.
The result is like being at a cocktail party,listening to an intelligent, perceptive and well spoken drunk skewer everyone else in the room.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome! I read this book when it first came out. It was single handedly responsible for me becoming a reader! I just purchased it in audio form all these years later. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
Bought this book about a month ago, I am fastidious about novels, so bloody picky that i usually go for Nicholas sparks or p g wodehouse, yes, never have I transcended the level. Read morePublished 19 days ago by KP
The Corrections is a great novel - examining a family and the ways that they interact with each other. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Kim B. Purmort
Awful, I couldn't believe that critics liked this. It must have come out in a bad year for literature!Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
Marvellous realistic presentation of a modern American family. Characters fully developed, warts and all-- can extrapolate it to my own family so far away. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Well worth reading, very true of family relationships and all the difficulties that arise plus the sadness that old age brings.......remember that you are heading down this path.Published 1 month ago by Sally Percy