FreedomBook - 2010 | 1st ed
The idyllic lives of civic-minded environmentalists Patty and Walter Berglund come into question when their son moves in with aggressive Republican neighbors, green lawyer Walter takes a job in the coal industry, and go-getter Patty becomes increasingly unstable and enraged.
From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a darkly comedic novel about family.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR • Winner of the John Gardner Fiction Award • A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist • A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
Freedom, by the New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Franzen, is a masterly novel of contemporary love and marriage, a brilliant charting of the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, and the heavy weight of empire.
Patty and Walter Berglund were the pioneers of old St. Paul—the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant garde of the Whole Foods generation. But now, in the new millennium, they have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter, once an environmental lawyer, taken a job working with Big Coal? Most startling of all, why has Patty, the perfect neighbor, turned into the local Fury?
Patty and Walter Berglund are indelible characters, and their mistakes and joys, as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, have become touchstones of contemporary American reality.
Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul—the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter—environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man—she was doing her small part to build a better world.
But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz—outré rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival—still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbor," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?
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.
The idyllic lives of civic-minded environmentalists Patty and Walter Berglund come into question when their son moves in with aggressive Republican neighbors, green lawyer Walter takes a job with Big Coal and go-getter Patty becomes increasingly unstable and enraged. 400,000 first printing.
From the critics
Coarse Language: Lot a lot of it, but all the general curse words make an appearance now and then
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People came to this country for either money or freedom. If you don’t have money, you cling to your freedoms all the more angrily. Even if smoking kills you, even if you can’t afford to feed your kids, even if your kids are getting shot down by maniacs with assault rifles. You may be poor, but the one thing nobody can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to.
"Lalitha was better than Patty. This was simply a fact. But Walter felt that he would sooner die than acknowledge this obvious fact to Patty, however much he might turn out to love Lalitha, and however unworkable his life with Patty had become, he loved Patty in some wholly other way, some larger and more abstract but nevertheless essential way that was about a lifetime of responsibility; about being a good person." p.304