Billy's Reviews > The Twenty-Seventh City

The Twenty-Seventh City by Jonathan Franzen
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Aug 03, 08

Recommended for: Jonathan Franzen
Read in July, 2008

Hmm. It's hard to say this, since Jonathan Franzen has more talent in writing than I will ever have even tying my shoes. But compared to "Strong Motion" and "The Corrections", this book is tiresome, and falls unmistakably short of its ambitions. There are some hints of his gift (on more consistent display in later works) for hyper-perceptive and realistic accounts of the moment-by-moment consciousness of his characters; if only his regard for his characters in this one were more evenly distributed. Also, later on he writes with more humor, too. But I do like the fact that the book tackles themes of public civic participation and terrorism in the form of serious fiction -- why should the pulpy mystery novels have all the fun? Also, the hunting scene (esp. pp. 161-162) was masterful. Again, you could probably convince someone this was Don Delillo if you didn't show them the cover.

. . . . .

The fact that he's written only a few things so far gives me the rare chance to say I have read the entire ouevre of an author I like, once I get through this one. But I have to say, I have more fun reading this if I think of it not as early Franzen, but as bootleg Delillo.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Nicole Someone had told me once that this was better than The Corrections, although I enjoyed it, it was more because of his writing rather than the story. I cringed at the fact that he fell in love with Jammu, and the part where he describes Martin's dream about seeing Jammu undress made me scream "WTF?!?!" He did write things in this book about America that are still true today: people care about the issues, but not enough to go out and vote. Singh was a hilarious character, I couldn't help but laugh out loud when he would narrate their pretend relationship to Barbara and how she would respond with boredom. Also, Singh's trip back to Bombay and his encounter in the plane with a little baby was a great way to end an otherwise depressing book.


message 2: by Fred (new)

Fred Maybe you've overdosed on Franzen - I read this years ago, can hardly remember the plot, and hadn't even heard of Franzen when I read it (yes, some time has passed). It became one of my favorite books and I keep meaning to dig it out and see how it holds up.


message 3: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Have you read 'Freedom'? If so, what did you think of it?


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