Reading “The Corrections”

There are few works that have caused as much of an uproar in the last ten years as Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections.” I would mention Dave Eggers’ “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” as one of the few game changers in literary work during the last decade, and Franzen would certainly be on that list as well.

Is “The Corrections” the novel of the decade? I wouldn’t say so. Is it a novel I would hope to read again in ten years without disappointment? I sure hope so.

Part of the beauty of Franzen’s work is the utter confidence with which he moves you through the narrative. If you go to the bookstore to check out the book, I urge you to read page eleven. I can’t really replicate it here because it’s a page-long sentence, but trust me when I say that it is worth your time to read this novel.

Saying that “The Corrections” is about family is like saying “Disgrace” is about a college professor. Franzen’s epic is more about expectations, parenting, decline and death, and what it takes to really love someone. He also kind of skews the familiar tale of the couple who have been happily married for almost fifty years.

There’s some random shit here, but it all works in concert to make something extraordinary. My only complaint is that the end, while it gives us wonderful closure for Alfred, Enid, and Chip, I felt like Denise and Gary get left behind in the dust of rushing through to the end. It’s not a big complaint, particularly because the novel really is about Alfred/Enid, but if I had an opportunity to see a different version of the end, I would have liked more info about Denise in particular.

Definitely a novel that is worth your time.