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Jonathan Franzen

2 books for £5

May sees the arrival of three of Franzen’s novels dropping into our great value 2 for £5 offer, along with 2 of his earlier works…

Jonathan Franzen The Corrections

“Reading The Corrections, with all its riffs and borrowings, finessings and unconscious homages, you become aware (and aware of it as a newness) of the extent to which Franzen travels the open road with a genuine non-anxiety of influence. His sentences exhibit a kind of hot-pants bricolage: they say hello to everybody and still manage to be pretty much themselves. Of course, red-hot non-anxiety should not be mistaken for a badge of courage, but Franzen’s novel is a one-tome definition of what the American novel (for good or ill) so often seeks to be nowadays.

David Foster Wallace and Kurt Anderson step aside: today’s big novel is the type of book which aims at bigness with the notion that all other big books are folded inside. The example is not War and Peace but the World Wide Web.” – Andrew O’Hagan

Jonathan Franzen Freedom

In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage.

Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom‘s characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.

Jonathan Franzen Purity

“Franzen can be piercingly brilliant at deconstructing myths the culture tells about itself. There are many paragraphs in this book that read like inspired op-eds. You don’t read him for the polemic, however, but for the way he roots these ideas in his flawed and beguiling characters, and for the smile that haunts sentences that have the authentic cast of joined-up thoughts.

In one of several throwaway “Twitter storms” that he has lately provoked, the author took issue with the idea of emoticons and all who believed in them, “because,” he said both mischievously and in earnest, “it takes 600 pages to convey emotion”. This novel, with its baggy plot and big heart and seductive intelligence, proves his point in a mere 563.” – The Guardian

Jonathan Franzen The Krauss Project

“Franzen’s translation of two long essays (and some brief follow-ups) by the Austrian satirist, journalist, aphorist and playwright Karl Kraus, a central figure in Viennese intellectual life from the late-19th century to his death in 1936.

The text comes packed with copious footnotes, many several pages long, in which the literary scholar Paul Reitter and the novelist Daniel Kehlmann join Franzen in offering their commentary. These footnotes range from the scholarly to the personal, with Franzen using Kraus’s text as a springboard to explore his own ideas and anxieties.” – The Guardian

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David Foster Wallace Oblivion

“In the stories that make up Oblivion, David Foster Wallace joins the rawest, most naked humanity with the infinite involutions of self-consciousness–a combination that is dazzlingly, uniquely his. These are worlds undreamt-of by any other mind. Only David Foster Wallace could convey a father’s desperate loneliness by way of his son’s daydreaming through a teacher’s homicidal breakdown (“The Soul Is Not a Smithy”). Or could explore the deepest and most hilarious aspects of creativity by delineating the office politics surrounding a magazine profile of an artist who produces miniature sculptures in an anatomically inconceivable way (“The Suffering Channel”). Or capture the ache of love’s breakdown in the painfully polite apologies of a man who believes his wife is hallucinating the sound of his snoring (“Oblivion”).

Each of these stories is a complete world, as fully imagined as most entire novels, at once preposterously surreal and painfully immediate. Oblivion is an arresting and hilarious creation from a writer “whose best work challenges and reinvents the art of fiction.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Don DeLillo Americana

At twenty-eight, David Bell is the American Dream come true. He has fought his way to the top, surviving office purges and scandals to become a top television executive. David’s world is made up of the images that flicker across America’s screens, the fantasies that enthrall America’s imagination.  And the dream – and the dream-making – become a nightmare.

At the height of his success, David sets out to rediscover reality. Camera in hand, he journeys across the country in a mad and moving attempt to capture, to impose a pattern on his own, and America’s past, present, and future

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