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About the Book


Nearly a decade after the publication of his award-winning novel The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen returns with an epic of equal genius. Taking its title from the liberty and the constraints of contemporary life, Freedom traces Patty and Walter Berglund’s lives from a turbulent college courtship through earnest attempts to be perfect parents and the aftermath of middle-aged confessions.

Patty and Walter begin their marriage as gentrifiers in old St. Paul, Minnesota. They are members of the Whole Foods generation, minimizing their use of fossil fuels and gradually reversing urban blight in a once-grand Victorian neighborhood. Imagine their angst when their teenage son decides to live with the aggressively Republican family next door and immerses himself in neocon ventures as soon as he arrives at college. Their other child, Jessica, surpasses her parents in rational thinking; Walter eventually dodges Jessica’s phone calls because her advice will be too tough to take. One constant fixture is Walter’s college rival and best friend, Richard Katz. Now an aging rocker, Richard still stokes a long-standing hunger in Patty. When Walter fights to preserve a habitat for an endangered bird --- even if it means making a spurious bargain with Big Coal --- this history threatens to topple the deal, along with everything he believes about truth and illusion.

One of the most highly anticipated novels of recent years, Freedom offers rich territory for discussion, ranging from the nature of love to the role of humanity in nature. We hope that the following questions will enhance your experience of Franzen’s dazzling literary triumph.

by Jonathan Franzen

  • Publication Date: September 27, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Picador
  • ISBN-10: 0312576463
  • ISBN-13: 9780312576462