Is there any problem Jonathan Franzen’s new novel can’t solve?
Author Jonathan Franzen, subject of TIME cover stories and subsequent cover-story-related backlash can sleep easier at night. His decade-long “feud” with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey has apparently come to an end; Winfrey has reportedly picked Franzen’s sprawling new novel Freedom as the next selection for her Oprah Book Club.
Now, NewsFeed shares the opinion of our colleague Lev Grossman, that the alleged feud was a “public mugging” of Franzen that occurred after his words were taken out of context. Still, the facts of the fight were these: In 2001, Franzen’s last novel The Corrections was picked for the book club. Franzen gave some less-than-enthusiastic quotes to the press — USA Today reported that he was “uncomfortable” about a “logo of corporate ownership” on the book’s cover — about being selected. Winfrey, offended, rescinded her invitation. The literary world got its own “slobs vs. snobs” battle. Franzen, reportedly, felt “awful.”
(It’s worth remembering what Franzen actually initially said, though. His words in this Powell’s interview speak to a view far more balanced than that in the official narrative:
The problem in this case is some of Oprah’s picks. She’s picked some good books, but she’s picked enough schmaltzy, one dimensional ones that I cringe, myself, even though I think she’s really smart and she’s really fighting the good fight. And she’s an easy target.
See, he said some nice things!)
Still, NewsFeed is happy to see that Franzen and Winfrey have buried the hatchet with this selection, regardless of whether said hatchet was real or merely imagined. But now we’re probably actually going to need to read Freedom, or else we’ll be left out of the first nationwide literary discussion in ages! (via NY Times)