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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Corrections

Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections is the story of a three-generational family that originated in the Midwest, but where the middle part of the family has migrated to Philadelphia and New York. The main characters are the grand-parents (Enid & Alfred) and their three adult children. Alfred is slowly losing his mind and this serves as the string along with the lives of these people are told. None of them is really happy with what they have achieved, none of them is all that successful in his everyday life, in that sense I guess this book is surprisingly dealing with completely normal people. They could live next to you right now.

This book highly confused me. There is no stringent action, no climax, no denouement. The story is carried solely by the inner monologues and problems of the characters. These protagonists furthermore are in no sense extraordinary, they are the kind of people - and stereotypes - you would not care for a minute longer than you would have to if you met them there. But in reality, when forced upon you, or introduced through a book such as this. Their everyday problems, their attempts at grappling with life provide a highly interesting story. It is all pointless in the end, there is no lesson to be learned, nothing to be gained, no moral or political standard upheld or destroyed. Yet, it is a great book, it makes the reader think about himself and his problems, worries and failed interhuman relations. Read it, it is good.

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