If you haven’t seen it already, in today’s New York Times David Brooks criticizes Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom as a book that “tells us more about America’s literary culture than about America itself,” which, true or not, he views to be a bad thing.
It’s not the first time that Brooks has summoned a less-than-compelling argument in the name of contrarianism, but he essentially faults the book for not being something it never purported to be. Why aren’t the characters admirable, or religious? Why don’t we see more of the artist character honing his craft?
How are we supposed to take this as anything more then one man’s opinion?
“Sometime long ago, a writer by the side of Walden Pond…” begins one paragraph. Thank goodness he avoided the “overly biting” tone of The Atlantic‘s critique!
We’ve come full circle in the Freedom hype cycle: it’s now been so praised that people may be in danger of forgetting that it isn’t supposed to be a summary of our complete existence. Not that Mr. Brooks actually thinks any of this, of course.