Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

The anti-love story of an American marriage.

Freedom is a terribly generic name for a totally original novel. I’d prefer “Songs for Walter” or even “Mistakes Were Made.” I’m really not sure how that one slipped by.

Anyway. Thoroughly engrossing read about people making each other miserable. It reminded me a lot of Revolutionary Road, a favorite of mine (despite the suckitatious movie). The psychological torture that the characters inflict on one another is exquisite and acute, but somehow hopelessly romantic, too.

Franzen is so ambitious, not content to tell a small story about people who can’t figure it out. He also brings in corrupt Iraq War defense contractors, the housing bubble, and punks turned alt-country, making the novel a stunningly executed portrait of America of the 80s, 90s, and 00s. He also throws in a bucket of melodrama. It all really works.

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