A Year In Big Books Continues: 2666 by Roberto Bolano

I think I’m suffering from a Jonathan Franzen hangover headache after speeding through The Corrections in five days. I had planned to continue my Franzen fest through The Twenty-Seventh City and Freedom, but both of those books still sit on my desk, filling me with regret and guilt for not reading them.

I just can’t read any more Franzen right now. So, I looked through my large and growing bookshelf of unread books and found a copy of Roberto Bolano’s 2666. Although it is much longer than Freedom or The Twenty-Seventh City, I decided to crack it open last night. It’s a stylistic departure fron Franzen as well, but one I think I will enjoy. Two years ago, I read and enjoyed The Savage Detectives, so I hope 2666 holds my attention and interest as well.

I’ll put Franzen aside for now, but I still plan to return to his books. 2666 will be a more significant reading challenge, but it is a challenge I feel willing to take.

Updates will come soon, so be prepared to follow my musings on Bolano’s last and (apparently) still in flux monster of a novel. Readers: feel free to jump in and kickstart the conversation in the comments section!

A Year in Big Books: Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections”

A Year In Big Books follows my quest to read novels that reach beyond the normal length (say 250 or so pages for the sake of argument). This is an attempt to explore recent trends towards long-form novels in popular literature. I begin with Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections.

I had never read a Franzen novel until last week, when I jumped into the deep end of his most famous novel, The Corrections. For 8 days, I put aside other more important matters (or so it seemed — somehow things always get finished) and tore through all 568 pages of this epic of the suburbs. I was profoundly impressed by Franzen’s prose and his descriptions of a middle-class family from the Midwest. Without moralizing, Franzen has created a world of conflict, guilt, regret and sadness beneath the veneer of a modern, seemingly functioning family trying to come to terms with the past, present, and future of American consumer culture. Franzen’s novel reflects many of the modern anxieties of the American family and his longer-form style is able to reflect that anxiety best. Continue reading →