Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

People are types and they are also much more than that (or less than that as the case may be.) Characters attest to be real but they can't be any more real than the types that we allow ourselves to see. Authors go beneath types, inside of them and sometimes they don't. Is one mode better than another? Does it matter? It may not matter, that Patty Berglund is a type that we know and that we can't get inside of  (any more than her spouse, children or anyone else she knows can.)  If the type shimmers with a resonance that is huge, cultural, imbedded and infinite (in terms of how many individuals could be packed inside of it) which hers is, than that type works. And so I believe the hype....and also the criticism. But I think Franzen is brilliant at alluding to a world that is by nature unknowable, and limning all the ways the thicket of our world tricks us and keeps us at bay. The tragedy, after all, is not knowing who we are.

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