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Freedom

Book Review   by:Prolix     Original Author: Jonathan FRANZEN
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This abstract was translated from Freedom
 

Berglund family (Walter and Patty, daughter Jessica, son Joey) lives in Minneapolis (Minnesota) in a typical american suburb, with some neighbors who come together on occasion. Each family can be seen from afar… Carol Monagham, the neighbor of Berglund who lived alone with her daughter Connie is now with a man whom some consider a little hick because he spends his time tinkering loudly.

Joey Berglund (teenager at the beginning) is fascinated by the sweet and seductive Connie. The flirt soon turns to passion love, before Berglund parents realize. The news is a bombshell when Joey decides to move in front of his parents, Carol home with Connie. Connie is literally bewitched by the very confident Joey. For her, life is to do everything to be with Joey and satisfying him.

But, this novel isn’t simply a study of manners in the United States. Jonathan Franzen is much more ambitious. He returned at length about Patty’s past, when she was a student. She was a talented basketball player who lived primarily for her sport. Rather naive in her love life, she has long relied on her friend Eliza to protect her. But, that wasn’t enough, and she has come to understand that Eliza saw things her way and had a special character.

After several setbacks, Patty falls in love with Richard Katz, a young musician she has diffuculty approaching. She takes advantage of what Richard is friend with Walter to show that she exists.

The basketball career of Patty is unfortunately stopped by a stupid accident. Patty then goes to New York with Richard, when she had spent much time with Walter who was very attractive but didn’t how to declare his love. Patty is very reluctant, according to circumstances. She realizes that Richard the ladies’ man will not be the husband she seeks. A bit annoyed by this turn of events, so she will end up marrying Walter who is the ideal husband. Only delicate point, she unable to forget her physical attraction for Richard.

It’s therefore the knowledge of a classical trio which allows Franzen to adress many important issues, showing their evolution. Thus, Walter will be hired by the Cerulean Mountain Trust, headed by a rich man who had in mind to save an endangered bird species, The Cerulean Warbler. Walter has environmental reasons. Its main idea is to raise awareness of the enormous potential danger of encontrolled growth of world population. His envolvment in the Trust it seems in the right way. Unfortunately, he realizes that huge sums are involved in a rash. Why save this species and not another and for what price ?

At the same time, the young Joey travelled the wide world in search of gear out of order that could be recovered by the US military for recycling doubtful. He realizes that the administration doesn’t care about his feelings. Asked to be quiet on the aberrations observed. A lot of money flowing because the U.S. is at war…

The couple’s love life Berglund took an unexpected turn. Walter has worked with Lalitha, very young and beautiful assistant. As for Richard, became a reference in the rock world, he approaches again Berglund couple. Richard is Walter’s best friend…

In the dense novel, Franzen auscultates America today by examining its past. Many things have changed and many mistakes were made, at the individual level as at the national level. But we must live with this errors. Franzen shows this very well by feel that the actions of each other arising from what they are and their experiences. Everyone has motivations that influence the actions of others. Complex and exciting.

Franzen made the rounds of events in the United States since the Vietnam war, until 2001-09-11 and its impact on states and individuals. He allows himself a confusing building by presenting the autobiography of Patty as she was talking about another person. And his novel is large enough to raise major concerns of Americans over a long period. These include the wars that have contributed to a certain image of Americans around the world. And Franzen auscultates family, filial relationships and love, with changing attitudes. He wonders what is the future of humanity. The search fro freedom is threatened by the population explosion, isnt’ it ? How far can we go this way ?

The style is very pleasant and we plunge further in this novel. However I regret the king size of the chapters. I struggled over the last 200 pages or so, with the impression that the tension had fallen and that dragged on. The very moving last pages show that the last part is important.

U.S.A. - ©2010

***+

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Published: September 21, 2012   
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