This time of year, I’d usually be kicking off another round of Franzen in February, but due to my unplanned, two-month blogging hiatus, I don’t have my shit together.
But I just remembered, the most amazing Franzen-related incident of my life occurred during my hiatus, and while I regaled everyone on social media, YouTube, and even IRL, I haven’t shared it with you, dear readers.
Last year, I sent Jonathan Franzen a letter through his publisher. While I didn’t expect to received a response, I figured I may as well “go big or go home” for my first foray into physical fan mail writing. Plus, I actually had something to say. I’d had an unasked question bothering me since 2015, when I saw him at Book Expo America, and he made some comments about the “ickiness” of male authors writing female leads. He’s written about this before, and I find it so strange, because he writes female leads (or, really, writes ensemble casts that include females). So I asked him about it. And eleven months later, he wrote me back.
It took me another two months to write him back (he wrote “does that make sense” at the end of his email which means he definitely wanted me to??) and I got the away message at the top of this post, which was, in a weird way, almost as exciting as getting the original email response, because it means it’s his *real* email, not just an account he uses for responding to potentially insane fans. Also, look at that typo in “emaill”! Best selling authors: they’re just like us.
Anyway, I’m guessing JFranz was on a birding expedition, and I hope he had a good time. I’ll certainly report back if I get another response, though I of course will never reveal the full contents of his emails – you’ll have to wait for my collected correspondence to be released after my death.
(And if any of you want to guest posts a Franzen review this month, do get in touch!)