National Book Award, Fiction, 2001
The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century - a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. After almost 50 years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives.
The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing specatcularly at his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain on an affair with a married man - or so her mother fears.
Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to. Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home.
Stretching from the Midwest at midcentury to the Wall Street and Eastern Europe of today, The Corrections brings an old-fashioned world of civic virtue and sexual inhibitions into violent collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental health care, and globalized greed. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.
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ABRIDGED is BETTER and 12 hours shorter
- Jacqueline "."
"Grandly Entertaining"? Really?
I do not consider raising my anxiety level to the max by putting me in the midst of the most hopeless and unlovable family I have ever come to know entertaining. If this is a true representation of " the American society and the American soul" we are doomed. The author is amazingly skilled at his ability to portray believable characters. The problem for me was I didn't want to know them. I didn't even want to face the possibility people as despairingly undone as this are among us. I was never more glad when this ended and I could leave their world. The narrator did a fine job of conveying the utter doom of the whole story. As gifted as he is, I fear to read anything else by Franzen. There could be knives too available nearby.
- Georgia Burns