August 31, 2012 |
"House for Sale," a stage adaptation of Jonathan Franzen's essay, will make its off-Broadway debut Oct. 21 to Nov. 18 at the Duke on 42nd Street. In the piece, Franzen wrote about trying to sell his childhood home after his mother's death for a price she would find appropriate. Daniel Fish, who adapted the piece and will direct the show, said Franzen's essay will be presented on stage verbatim, although not entirely the way the National Book Award-winning novelist wrote it. The cast includes Rob Campbell, Christina Rouner, Lisa Joyce, Merritt Janson and Michael Rudko.
April 29, 2012 |
Farther Away Essays Jonathan Franzen Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 322 pp., $26 I didn't much like Jonathan Franzen's essay "Farther Away" when I read it a year ago in the New Yorker. A complicated mishmash of a piece, it seeks to juxtapose the author's visit to the South Pacific island of Masafuera, renamed in the 1960s "for Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish seaman whose tale of solitary living … was probably the basis for Daniel Defoe's novel 'Robinson Crusoe,'" with his thoughts on Defoe and on the novel, and, most important, the effort to process the death of his close friend and sometime literary rival David Foster Wallace, who hanged himself in 2008.
April 21, 2012 |
NEW YORK—There are author success stories. There's winning the lottery. And then there's Chad Harbach. A long-suffering, often-starving MFA graduate, Harbach spent much of his 20s and 30s working temp jobs so he could write a novel, sometimes with barely $100 in his bank account. He thought no one would ever read his book, titled "The Art of Fielding. " It featured, after all, some pretty ambitious literary writing, a prominent gay character and a baseball motif, all no-nos for anyone with aspirations to the fiction bestseller list.
March 4, 2012 |
It may be impossible for an author to achieve more acclaim than Toni Morrison, now 81, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1993. Her work is "characterized by visionary force and poetic import," the Nobel Committee wrote, and we'll get more of it May 8, when her 10th novel is published. "Home" is the story of an angry African American veteran of the Korean War who returns, unhappily, to the Georgia community where he was raised. She's not the only Nobel Prize winner returning to shelves.
June 17, 2011 |
Several weeks into December last year, my parents suggested I might like a Kindle for Christmas. I was sitting in my room at school, and my eyes darted to the bookshelf on my left. From the silence on the line they could tell I wasn't enthusiastic; I muttered something about not needing another gadget, mostly because I couldn't find a way to shape my reluctance into words. The conversation was tactfully forgotten, and Christmas morning, as my grandmother happily unwrapped a Kindle, I found a Jonathan Franzen novel and a new pair of Ugg boots under the tree.
March 11, 2011 |
Jennifer Egan's " A Visit From the Goon Squad " was awarded the fiction prize from the National Book Critics Circle on Thursday evening, besting Jonathan Franzen's widely publicized novel " Freedom " and works by David Grossman, Hans Keilson and Paul Murray. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, Egan's novel is an innovatively structured work about characters involved in the music industry. The title is taken from an Elvis Costello song that is also about time and how decisions echo across generations.