Brits and Patriots Take Sides in Transatlantic, Blair-Versus-Franzen Lit Battle

In case you haven’t heard, white, male and Brooklyn-dwelling novelist Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, Freedom, was released for non-presidential people today. It currently sits atop Amazon’s bestseller list, and apparently it’s very good or something. 

But it seems British online book-buyers don’t want much to do with the “Great American Novelist.” Across the pond, Franzen’s only pre-sold and sold enough copies to secure Freedom a spot at 59. Way ahead of him, at number five, is none other than their former PM, Tony Blair, with his memoir A Journey. It’s released tomorrow in his home country and Thursday over here. And, in what may come as a surprise in the midst of all the Franzen hype, the pre-sales for A Journey indicate that it will be the biggest political memoir of all time, The Telegraph reports. 

England’s failure to pick up on the Freedom zeitgeist can’t be all too surprising. Michiko Kakutani writes in The New York Times that Franzen’s opus is a “Big American Novel” that “captures a national mindset.” Those far-off British readers will be slower to embrace this particular brand of Midwestern epic, perhaps?

That being said, Blair may find himself in even deeper trouble when it comes to his stateside sales. Will anyone care enough about Blair’s tales of Princess Di and his country’s involvement in Iraq to buy the book? A Journey is only ranked at number 824 on the American Amazon charts — not exactly a British Invasion level of excitement. Blair’s choice of venue to visit on the day of its release may drum up some support, though: he’ll be in Washington, D.C. to attend an Israeli-Palestinian peace talk, the AP’s Jill Lawless reports. But chances are, as Blair flies into the capital of the land of the free, his book will just get swallowed up by all the Freedom.

 

Brits and Patriots Take Sides in Transatlantic, Blair-Versus-Franzen Lit Battle