How to be Alone

Front Cover
Harper Perennial, 2004 - Literary Collections - 306 pages
13 Reviews
Passionate, independent-minded nonfiction from the international bestselling author of THE CORRECTIONS. Jonathan Franzen's THE CORRECTIONS was the best-loved and most written-about novel of 2001. Nearly every in-depth review of it discussed what became known as 'The Harper's Essay, ' Franzen's controversial 1996 look at the fate of the novel. This essay is reprinted for the first time in HOW TO BE ALONE, alongside the personal essays and painstaking, often funny reportage that earned Franzen a wide readership before the success of THE CORRECTIONS. Although his subjects range from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each piece wrestles with familiar themes of Franzen's writing: the erosion of civic life and private dignity, and the hidden persistence of loneliness, in postmodern, imperial America. Alzheimer's disease and a rueful account of Franzen's brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author. As a collection, these essays record what Franzen calls 'a movement away from an angry and frightened isolation toward an acceptance -- even a celebration -- of being a reader and a writer. ' At the same time they show the wry distrust of the claims of technology and psychology, the love-hate relationship with consumerism, and the subversive belief in the tragic shape of the individual life that help make Franzen one of the sharpest, toughest-minded, and most entertaining social critics at work today

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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 (2004)

Jonathan Franzen is the author of THE TWENTY- SEVENTH, STRONG MOTION and THE CORRECTIONS. His fiction and nonfiction appear frequently in the NEW YORKER and HARPER'S, and he was named one of the best American novelists under forty by GRANTA and the NEW YORKER. He lives in New York City.

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