Depending on whom you ask, Franzen is either the premier living American writer or the last literary dinosaur: a pompous white male Luddite who gazes disdainfully down at us tweeting, Facebooking fools from his comfortable perch of astronomical sales and critical adulation. …
Guardian review – Purity by Jonathan Franzen review – dazzling, hilarious and problematic
Purity is one big and ambitious book. I was prepared not to like it. Prepared not to finish it.
I assumed every character would be educated and talented. Yet find ways to make themselves miserable.
And I was right.
But the plot got me hooked. It’s complex, interesting and entertaining. If you are up for a challenge, I do recommend Purity.
The multigenerational epic jumps back and forth across decades. Moves from Germany, to Bolivia, to several different locations in the USA.
I did care about some of the lead characters.
Purity (Pip) Tyler was quite convincing, I thought.
German Andreas Wolf runs a WikiLeaks-like site called the Sunlight Project. Daniel Craig will play him in the planned Showtime adaptation. Purity would make good TV, I think.
Journalist Leila Helou did not do much for me much as a character. But her story was fascinating.
Charles Blenheim, Leila’s husband, a literary has-been, is not a lead character. But I did find him very entertaining.
Tom Aberant is the most important character, I’d say. An idealist who somehow got himself roped into an insane marriage. He’s the character I identify with most.
It’s only got a 3.6 / 5.0 rating on GoodReads. Critics like it better than do regular folks.
Of his 4 other books, the only other I’ve read is The Corrections. Purity is better IMHO.