Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

"The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen (Fourth Estate, 2002)

I'm impatient at the moment, and shouldn't have chosen this 568 page novel. It has bouts of wordiness: the florid "The workshop was now home to a colony of mute, dust-colored crickets, which, when startled, would scatter across the room like a handful of dropped marbles, some of them misfiring at crazy angles, others toppling over with the weight of their own copious protoplasm. They popped all too easily, and cleanup took more than one Kleenex. Enid and Alfred had many afflictions which they believed to be extraordinary, outsized - shameful - and the crickets were one of them." (p.5) - crickets weighty with protoplasm?; out-of-character longeurs "the problem of existence was this: that, in the manner of a wheat seedling thrusting itself up out of the earth, the world moved forward in time by adding cell after cell to its leading edge, piling moment on moment, and that to grasp the world even in its freshest, youngest moment provided no guarantee that you'd be able to grasp it again a moment later" (p.66) - of a confused old man; and sometimes just verbose (e.g. p.81 - one damn thing after another; accumulation of small regrets and disappointments; mimetic meandering - yes, but also lots of words).

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