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Strong Motion

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  3,296 ratings  ·  271 reviews
A suspenseful, complex novel dealing with the issues of our day--environmental pollution, religious fundamentalism, abortion, and the threat of apocalypse. It is also a tender and fresh love story--a story of betrayal and redemption--from the author of The Twenty-Seventh City.
Hardcover, 508 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Farrar Straus Giroux
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I remember being seduced to the point of debility by The Corrections (blowing off social outings I was actually looking forward to; missing the Sporanos), which I still can't get over. Strong Motion just confirms that I have a real weakness for Franzen's writing, and also that in my mind he is a genius. Nobody's characters come alive for me the way his do. He just bloody nails it. People are so weird--"ordinary people"--there's no such thing. Everybody is so weird and their ridiculous quirks and ...more
I finally made my way through this vast, amazing epic of a book. I know that I often say that I loved books here. But this one is different, for one thing, it convinced me that Jonathan Franzen is a prescient genius (something I was decidedly not in agreement with before I picked this up). The writing is so precise and dense, yet compelling and readable at the same time. The issues he tackles are huge (coming of age after college, love, commitment, the relationships between parents and their adu ...more
Jen Padgett Bohle
First, a caveat: Strong Motion is not The Corrections. It does not deliver the scintillating prose, caustic wit, and epic scope of Franzen's National Book Award winning later novel. It's an eccentric and lengthy book that, for better or worse, dons a variety of identities: suspense, romance, family melodrama, didactic political novel, bildungsroman, perhaps more. There are subplots and mere meanderings, but Franzen ties them all into the relationship between Louis Holland and Renee Seitchek, and ...more

Mein Lieblingsroman des Jahres 2012 war Franzens "Die Korrekturen". Mein Lieblingsroman des Jahres 2013 war Franzens "Freiheit".

Wird Franzen auch im Jahr 2014 seinem Spitzenplatz auf meiner Bestenliste behaupten können?

Leider lautet meine Antwort dieses Mal: Nein!

Auch wenn das Genie immer wieder durchscheint, erreicht Franzen hier noch nicht die Virtuosität seiner späteren Werke. Aber hey, als "Schweres Beben" 1992 erschien, war Franzen gerademal 32 Jahre alt. Das soll ihm erstmal einer nachsch
Aug 09, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Francis Younghusband
Shelves: fiction
In Strong Motion, Franzen's second novel, new college graduate Louis Holland moves to Boston to work a minimum wage job at a radio station. An earthquake kills his step-grandmother, his mother inherits her $22 million estate, and Louis has a conflicted relationship with his older sister Eileen, who is very mean. Eileen's boyfriend's father works for an evil chemicals manufacturing company who has been pumping toxic waste deep into the earth, which a Harvard seismologist named Renee believes is c ...more
Reading “Strong Motion” felt like having an exquisite meal with well aged wine. Franzen is a true master. His characters are complex and multidimensional drawing one’s attention towards themselves and this attention is constantly fuelled by building up expectations to discover yet another aspect of an individual. The author tells the story from different people’s perspectives delving into their past to shed some light on why they are what they are in the present, but he tends to do this in a ver ...more
Earthquakes rock Boston as our protagonist, Louis Holland, navigates a cityscape seemingly brimming with all of the post-utopian angst that Franzen is purportedly famous for exposing: evil corporations destroying our environment in their relentless quest for wealth, pro-lifers picketing and protesting the abortion clinics that proliferate in the liberal northeast, egocentric ivy league elites sipping coffee in Cambridge and intellectualizing much of the above. Not to mention the secondary charac ...more
Αν είσαι φαν θα το συμπαθήσεις κ αυτό γιατί οι προτάσεις που μιλάνε κατευθείαν στην ψυχή σου είναι καταχωνιασμένες κ σε αυτό το βιβλίο του. Απλώς μου φάνηκε πιο λιγομίλητο από τα άλλα.Οι χαρακτήρες μου ήταν αφόρητα αντιπαθείς κ οι αντιδράσεις τους τόσο κοντά σε αντιδράσεις της οικογένειας μου που αν αγάπησα τόσο το Freedom επειδή δεν ταυτίστηκα με κανέναν χαρακτήρα τότε μπορώ να καταλάβω γιατί το Strong Motion που μου θύμισε το μισό μου σόι σε ηλιθιότητα παίρνει δύο αστεράκια.
Seeing as he has a new book coming out this fall, I figured I should polish off the last of Franzen's Fictions I hadn't read.

Franzen's first novel, The 27th city, was a large, unfocused, sprawling thing with the very occasionally beautiful sentence or passage to keep the reader going. It was, basically, a complete mess. Strong Motion is his first novel that actually functions as a novel. The narrative focus is sharper, the plotting a bit more developed, the characters a little bit better drawn,
Ned Mozier
A tour de force of storytelling and unbelievably insights into technical matters. The inside and backstory about how corporations become corrupt rings true, and the human elements that shape it. Franzen is truly one of the greatest modern american novelists. Told from flawed but interesting protagonists about the excesses of industry with catastrophic consequences. I have only his latest now to read.
Lisa Kim
I couldn't help thinking of the outrage over Franzen's recent Guardian essay as I finished this book a few days a ago. Those who are calling him an out of touch elitist for hating the internet should (re)visit this novel. For a book published over 20 years ago, it doesn't seem dated at all. Much of its themes are as fresh today. What we now call fracking is a guise for Franzen's fictional energy company to drill and dump and hide industrial waste. Abortion and the religious right's fierce war ag ...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
un Franzen postmoderno, o quasi

"E perché, con la scusa di essere genitori responsabili, state inculcando ai vostri figli lo stesso ethos del consumo, se i beni materiali non sono l'essenza dell'umanità: perché vi state assicurando che la loro vita sia ingombra di oggetti come la vostra, con doveri e paranoie e immissioni ed emissioni, così che l'unico scopo per cui avranno vissuto sarà quello di perpetuare il sistema, e l'unica ragione per cui moriranno sarà il fatto di essersi logorati."

Louis h
I really, really loved this book, which is probably an understatement. For the first time, in a while, a writer verging on genius has managed to keep my attention and will for longer than say 5-10 minutes. This novel was written in 1992, before his first blockbuster novel The Corrections (which I have not read yet, surprisingly, and I am glad). I think I was so engaged because, in 1992, I was 23-24 years old myself, like Louis. So, of course, I related to him in many ways, even though we don't s ...more
John Braine
I consider Franzen to be one of my favourite novelists even though before now I've only read The Corrections and Freedom. So I thought I better check out the back catalogue. I might be wrong but Strong Motion seemed to be the book where Franzen developed his voice and really seemed like the Franzen I know and love by the end of this book. But it seemed like a gradual thing, I found the start quite flakey and I even considered abandoning it at one stage. I also found a lot of the characters to be ...more
Craig New
Jonathan Franzen must have had some hellish experiences with human beings, because his characters are often some of the most despicable and frustrating people I have come across. Yet somehow you end up feeling something for them, which in my case invariably means a switch from almost pure hatred to one of sympathy.
The other contradiction with Franzen is his technical sensibilities. his attention to details is so minute at times that you almost feel like you're reading through a manual for a piec
Jessica Fishman
While I am always impressed w/ Franzen's intellect and skill, I grow increasingly tired of a cynicism in his characters that alternately makes me loathe them or feel that Franzen does. I appreciate his layered character development and a willingness to write characters that are 'messy,' giving voice to the less than saintly thoughts and choices we all make in our lives. Still, so many of Franzen's characters seem either deeply narcissistic and inherently miserable as people (usually the men) or ...more
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Jonathan Franzen is my favorite author. I had already read Freedom and The Corrections and thought they were both amazing. This earlier book is less amazing, but still very good. It may sound rather boring, but it really picks up pace towards the end and isn't difficult to read. Although Franzen makes his characters very flawed, they are still endearing. I liked Louis and Renee, the main characters in this book. I thought there could have been more development with some characters. For example, ...more
Chrystal Hays
Waiting for new books to arrive, I sometimes go back to the shelf of what I consider books from The Lost Year...the year after the big housefire that took my pets. During that time, I read things and now I have no memory of them. It was like my self was on autopilot while I worked through grief.

I was happily surprised to find this book there, and I can't really tell if maybe I never read it, or read and forgot, but either way, it's a good read.

Franzen has an uncanny way of pointing out human f
Not quite the unmitigated brilliance of The Corrections , Franzen's Strong Motion is an agreeable counterpart to his later work, an achievement in its own right, a crystal-clear indicator of his accomplishments-to-be.

What surprised me the most here is that it actually gets better in its latter sections, and not just because I cared more about the characters as it moved along; I think the closing chapters are simply better-written than the early ones. How Franzen makes dilatory digressions as in
Mark Speed
Following the review I did yesterday ( of The Twenty-Seventh City, it's time to look at Franzen's second novel.

Strong Motion is a much more mature novel. There's none of the sniping that I felt he did in his debut. The political intrigue is there, and somehow the sexual element is both richer and sadder as the protagonist falls for a slightly older woman. Critics said it was dense. Well, good for Franzen for not lightening the load on himself or the reader
Jonathan Franzen does not write simple stories. This is the third novel of his I have read (loved 'The Corrections' and 'Freedom'). This is mainly the story of 23-year-old Louis Holland who lives in Boston. He comes from a dysfunctional family. He falls in love with a seismologist Renee Seitchek. That same year Boston is hit with several earthquakes and they may have been caused by the Sweeting-Aldren chemical company which was started by Louis' grandfather. Franzen tackles many subjects, such a ...more
I dislike random personification of raccoons, unfortunately, that may have been the most interesting section.
Andrew Marshall
A minor work by a great writer. If you've been bowled over by Frazen's Corrections and Freedom, you'll be tempted by this early piece. There's all the usual material: family ties and state of the nation themes (in this case environmental and religion). However, he has yet to reach his stride so the family relationships seem slightly off key and not particularly believable. While in Freedom the material about fracking did not weigh down the book, chemical dumping and earthquake science does domin ...more
I finished part one, and was pleasantly transported to .... where I am and have been residing for the last two years. It will belong in the category of Boston books, and books I need to return to when I need more white authors in my diet, which will probably be never, although I was just getting to the point where they were going to go more in-depth with the seismologist for Taiwan. It's a great book to read while living in the Greater Boston area, I just wish it wasn't so long-winded, since the ...more
Although Strong Motion (1992) was not a critical or financial success, it is an early indication that Jonathan Franzen is a gifted writer in the stratum of literary fiction. He’s had the good fortune to have the support that allows him to focus on his work, not every writer has that luxury, but for certain, this doesn’t mean I think he goes through life unscathed — no one does. While reading, I could see the set up for the ambitious tome, The Corrections in between the pages of Strong Motion. I ...more
There's remorse in finishing a good book, and remorse of a particular kind in finishing something written by Jonathan Franzen. His unclouded view of the world is delivered in prose so sharp the truths can't be shed or eluded, and so you're left with a double dose of longing and vague, lovely sorrow.

Franzen feels like a remarkable writer the way that Picasso was a remarkable painter, so fundamentally skilled there must exist early exercises effortlessly mimicking Hemingway or Dickens, inroads to
Victor Carson
For some reason, this novel was published or republished in 2014 but was originally copyrighted and published in the 1990's. Some flashes of Franzen's later style shine through this book but much of the story should have been heavily edited. The book follows a young man working at a Boston radio station, who loses his job when a religious, antiabortion group buys the company. Through his mother, however, he meets a somewhat older woman - a seismologists at Harvard. Together they try to prove tha ...more
Alright, so Franzen is clearly incredibly intelligent. He also did a lot of research for this one. On the other hand, maybe this was all knowledge he already had since he was a student of environmental sciences. An extra long novel, there are multiple complex storylines running throughout. Thorough character studies, important themes, & engaging plot changes. But still very, very long.

I love a good, thorough, lengthy novel. But there was so much information here, most of which I have to adm
the most underrated books are the ones that make me cry the hardest.

Jonathan Franzen is an author ever keen on speaking the daily vernacular. what i really love about Franzen is his gift of showing how normal American life is really like, how fucked up relationships are, and amidst this how he is capable of making some relevant social commentaries to show how twisted and pigs the people who participate in the game can get. he is smart with that kind of unpretentiousness and humor.

so there's th
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Jonathan Franzen is the author of The Corrections, winner of the 2001 National Book Award for fiction; the novels The Twenty-Seventh City and Strong Motion; and two works of nonfiction, How to Be Alone and The Discomfort Zone, all published by FSG. His fourth novel, Freedom, was published in the fall of 2010.

Franzen's other honors include a 1988 Whiting Writers' Award, Granta's Best Of Young Ameri
More about Jonathan Franzen...
Freedom The Corrections How to Be Alone The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History The Twenty-Seventh City

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