November 18, 2007

Franzen rules, OK!

On son John's recent recommendation, Betsy bought and read Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections. Once she surfaced, she insisted that I'd love it. I do. It's interesting for the qualities (flavor, savor, fibre) of its writing and for its relentless and multifarious takes on Family, and it sheds polychrome lights on various recent passages with members of my own extended Family. Rueful chuckles and sympathetic snortings are sure to be evinced from most readers, and some will experience the Scream of Recognition here and there... A couple of passages:

(of the Pater Familias, who is losing it)
...the panic of a man betrayed deep in the woods whose darkness was the darkness of starlings blotting out the sunset or black ants storming a dead opossum, a darkness that didn't just exist but actively consumed the bearings that he'd sensibly established for himself, lest he be lost; but in the instant of realizing that he was lost, time became marvelously slow and he discovered hitherto unguessed eternities in the space between one word and the next, or rather he became trapped in that space between words and could only stand and watch as time sped by without him... (pg. 11)

(and Frantzen does Lists like nobody else)
...Gary took a morning to inspect the whole property slowly, inside and out. He found cracks in the grouting, rust lines in the bathroom sinks, and a softness in the master bedroom ceiling. He noticed rain stains on the inner wall of the back porch, a beard of dried suds on the chin of the old dishwasher, an alarming thump in the forced-air blower, pustules and ridges in the driveway's asphalt, termites in the woodpile, a Damoclean oak limb dangling above a dormer, finger-wide cracks in the foundation, retaining walls that listed, whitecaps of peeling paint on window jambs, big emboldened spiders in the basement, fields of dried sowbugs and cricket husks, unfamiliar fungal and enteric smells, everywhere he looked the sag of entropy... (pg. 172)

Posted by oook at November 18, 2007 07:17 PM