Remember Jonathan Franzen’s New Yorker essay about traveling to a remote Chilean island and coming to terms with David Foster Wallace’s suicide while clinging to a cliff side in a rainstorm? It also included a literary history of Robinson Crusoe and some bits about camping and some inevitable Oedipal asides about how Mr. Franzen’s dad was into manly things like having a tool room and setting up camp sites and, of course, it wouldn’t be a Franzen essay without some birdwatching (even if it’s to the end of asserting Mr. Franzen’s relationship with nature as more harmonious than the Robinson Crusoe/dad survivalist kind and something about how if DFW just sat back and gazed at the hummingbirds and wasn’t so self-absorbed he wouldn’t have frustrated all his friends so much, etc.) Yes, of course you remember.
That essay, “Farther Away,” lends its title to a new collection that Mr. Franzen announced will be published in 2012. According to Publishers Marketplace the book includes “two previously unpublished works, ‘On Autobiographical Fiction’ and ‘Comma-Then’.” Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish.
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