Monday, September 07, 2015


Hummm.... Wonder if author watched "The X-Files" (Purity Control)?

"In ‘Purity,’ Jonathan Franzen dismantles the deception of idealism" PBS NewsHour 9/1/2015


SUMMARY:  Jonathan Franzen's latest novel unfolds between multiple characters across time and geography, connected by a theme named in its title: "Purity."  Jeffrey Brown visits the author on the California coast to discuss the book's inspiration and why he gets into heated public debates.

JONATHAN FRANZEN, Author, “Purity”:  That is the curlew again.  But it’s — this is — in the summer, they just get these amazing rust pink colors.  The rest of the year, they go real kind of gray and camouflage.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  The long-billed curlew, the Least sandpiper, the Heermann’s gull.

JONATHAN FRANZEN:  There’s one back — from the back that is still in its breeding plumage

JEFFREY BROWN:  Everywhere you look, there are birds here at the Moss Landing Wildlife Area on the California coast, oddly enough, in the shadow of a power plant.

And Jonathan Franzen, a dedicated, even obsessed bird-watcher knows them all.

JONATHAN FRANZEN:  Actually, I think that’s a jaeger.

JEFFREY BROWN:  It’s a pastime, Franzen says, that repays patience and a keen eye for the unexpected, much like the work he’s best known for, writing novels.

JONATHAN FRANZEN:  A great birder will spend some time looking at what everyone else is looking at, but then you will see him or her start to look around where everyone is not looking.  And that, I definitely recognize from my own practice of fiction.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Franzen lives in the seaside town of Santa Cruz, but was raised in a rather different setting, in the suburbs of Saint Louis.

He gained critical attention from his first two novels, but not many readers.  That changed with the 2001 publication of “The Corrections,” a sprawling novel about a dysfunctional Midwestern family which won the National Book Award and established him as one of the nation’s best-known writers.  When his next novel, “Freedom,” arrived in 2010, “TIME” magazine greeted it with a cover story proclaiming Franzen the great American novelist.

Now comes “Purity,” a book, he says, about youthful idealism.

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