Franzen in February

Welcome to Franzen in February. That’s right, in the off chance that I didn’t alienate my entire readership when I reviewed Purity thrice last year, I’ve decided to devote the whole month of February to the fabulous Mr. F. Here are just some of the goodies I have in store:

  • My conspiracy theory regarding the Franzen/Weiner feud (I just watched episode #1 of the X-files reboot, so I am ready to go in on this. THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.)
  • Q&A with Franzen Fan Club President and author of The Wallcreeper and Mislaid Nell Zink (!!!!)
  • Q&A with CanLit darling and Franzen fan Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End
  • Q&A with the fanatic behind Franzenfreude
  • Guests posts from a couple of Franzen newbies (your first Franzen is a very special experience)

Oh, yeah, I’m going to read stuff too. Maybe even review. Here’s the thing, though: I read three of Franzen’s books last year, and I’m not really in the mood to read another one right now. Write about them, yes. Read more of them…no. That could put a damper on the whole event.

I figured it out a way around it. Part of Franzen’s mystique is how everyone seems to have an opinion about him, and many authors have come out in support or on the attack. I’m going to read books by authors who love him, who hate him, who’ve been blurbed by him, and so on. FranzenFriends and FranzenFoes, if you will. Here’s my stack:

From top: Hates him, blurbed by him, blurbed by him, #1 fan?

From top: Hates him, blurbed by him, blurbed by him, #1 fan

A couple friend & foe ideas for you:

  • FranzenFriends: Nell Zink, Sigal Samuel, David Foster Wallace, Emily Gould, Jami Attenberg, Chico Buarque, Laura Miller
  • FranzenFoes: Jennifer Weiner, Roxane Gay, Curtis Sittenfield, Jodi Picoult

Get involved: read a book by Franzen, or a friend/foe; pitch me a guest post; or just follow along and comment. I’m not messing around with sign-ups, prizes, or read-alongs. I want to spend my time writing up all these fun posts.

I don’t really have an agenda. I’ve read his three “big” novels plus his memoir, and rated them three or four stars. I don’t even count him in my top ten authors. And I don’t give a shit if you refuse to read him for whatever (probably misinformed) reason. He’s just so fun to talk about. He’s a force in modern literature, but he can be, to quote a heroine of classic lit, so adorably clueless.

Whether you’re a FranzenFriend or FranzenFoe, stay tuned, this’ll be fun.

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13 comments

  1. Naomi

    I don’t really know enough about Franzen to be either. I couldn’t even remember that I read one of his books! But, I’ll have fun reading all the good stuff you have lined up. (I *would* like to read Mystics of Mile End and The Wallcreeper, but my pile is just too big right now, mostly thanks to Canada Reads.)

  2. tanya

    Ooh. This is fun. I find it kind of funny that I’m a fan of both friends and foes (and Franzen too). I got Purity for Christmas and haven’t read it yet, so February it will be. I also loved Mislaid, so maybe i’ll through in Wallcreeper too.
    And just for a bit of fun, will you be covering Franzen’s kidnapped and ransomed glasses in London a couple of years ago?

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