How to Be Alone: Essays

Front Cover
Picador, 2003 - Literary Collections - 320 pages
13 Reviews

From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics

While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each one wrestles with the essential themes of Franzen's writing: the erosion of civil life and private dignity; and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Reprinted here for the first time is Franzen's controversial l996 investigation of the fate of the American novel in what became known as "the Harper's essay," as well as his award-winning narrative of his father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease, and a rueful account of his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gregorybrown - LibraryThing

I'm very sympathetic to his concerns w/r/t fiction, so that part of the book was actually interesting and quite neat. And his Alzheimer's essay is astonishingly good. But that said, the book is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jimocracy - LibraryThing

In all fairness, this book wasn't what I had expected it to be. But it was still very hard to get through because it was pretentious and boring and lacking in any real human insight that I would find ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Jonathan Franzen won the National Book Award for fiction for The Corrections in 2001, and is the author of two other critically acclaimed novels, The Twenty-Seventh City and Strong Motion. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Harper's.

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