Category: Book
By (author): Franzen, Jonathan
Subject:  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Literary
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Published: September 2015
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 576
Size: 9.30in x 6.20in x 1.40in

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of Freedom.
     Jonathan Franzen's huge-canvased new book is about identity, the Internet, sexual politics, and love--among countless other things. It's deeply troubling, richly moving, and hilarious--featuring an unforgettable cast of inimitable Franzenian characters who grapple mightily and rewardingly with the great issues of our time and culture.
     Purity Tyler, known to all as Pip, is an outspoken, forthright young woman struggling to make a life for herself. She sleeps in an rickety commune in Oakland. She's in love with an unavailable older man and is saddled with staggering college debt. She has a crazy mother and doesn't know who her father is. A chance encounter leads her to an internship in South America with the world-famous Sunlight Project, which uses the internet to expose government and corporate fraud and malfeasance. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic genius who grew up privileged but disaffected in the German Democratic Republic. Forced to run TSP in Bolivia because of the hostility of European nations whose misdeeds he has exposed, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn't understand. Like numerous women before her, she becomes obsessed with Andreas, and they have an intense, unsettling relationship. Eventually, he finds her work at an online magazine in Denver with Tom Aberant, who, with his life partner, Leila Helou, uses old-fashioned reporting to achieve some of the same results that TSP seems to pull out of thin air.
     That's the top story. What lies underneath is a wild tale of hidden identities, secret wealth, neurotic fidelity, sociopathy and murder. The truth of Pip's parentage lies at the center of this maelstrom, but before it is resolved Franzen takes us from the rain-drenched forests of northern California, to paranoid East Berlin before the fall of the Wall, to the paradisiacal mountain valleys of Bolivia, exposing us to the vagaries of radical politics, the problematic seductions of the internet, and the no-holds-barred war between the sexes.
Review Quote*A Globe and Mail Best Book of 2015
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

A Washington Post Best Book of 2015
A Financial Times Best Book of 2015
A Guardian Best Book of 2015
A New York Times Notable 100 Book of the Year

"Mr. Franzen's most fleet-footed, least self-conscious and most intimate novel yet. . . . In Purity, he demonstrates his ease at conjuring whole worlds with a couple taps on the keyboard. . . . Mr. Franzen has added a new octave to his voice." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times 

"Franzen, even in a novel that flirts hard with Dickensesque coincidence, cements his place in the ranks of the realists." -TIME

"Purity is a novel of plenitude and panorama. . . . It can suggest a sort of openness and can have a strange, insistent way of pulling us in, holding our attention." -Colm Toibin, The New York Times 

"Franzen's prose is alive with intelligence." -The Atlantic

"Gracefully written and extremely funny . . . It's the ultimate tell-not-show novel, with Franzen launching long inquisitions into people's backstories and psychologies. He's so good at it that you often feel, at the end of a paragraph, as though you've had the rug swept out from under you but somehow remained in your chair-he builds toward dramatic pronouncements that are piercing and specific and yet broadly human enough so that the reader glimpses him or herself there, too." -The Globe and Mail

"An expansive, brainy, yet inviting novel that leaves few foibles unexplored."
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Franzen writes with a perfectly balanced fluency. . . . Still brilliant and endlessly allusive . . . wholly authentic." -The Washington Post

"Franzen is an exceptional writer, more skilled than most other men or women at producing brutal insights, perfectly evocative turns of phrase, and genuine hilarity. . . . Fascinating and poignant."
-The Guardian (UK) 

"Fierce writing, and it does what fiction is supposed to, forcing us to peel back the surfaces, to see how love can turn to desolation, how we are betrayed by what we believe. . . . It remains compelling to read Franzen confront his demons, which are not just his but everyone's."
-Los Angeles Times

"Purity has a plot thats a real page-turner, with characters you'll remember and dialogue that's pitch perfect." -Marie Claire (UK)

"Reading Jonathan Franzen on form is like watching a baseball star toss a ball, knowing that behind the casual gesture is a virtuoso talent and 10,000 hours of practice." -The Guardian (UK)

"Pip has a lackadaisical charm that will grip readers from the start. . . . There is murder, sex, money and more than a few scenes in which you'll laugh out loud. . . . Franzen masterfully connects the gritty dots." -The Vancouver Sun

"No one who loves Franzen's books will regret reading this one. Purity is engaging and brilliant. Few contemporary authors make characters as vitally alive and heartbreaking in their failures as Franzen does. . . . A work to be reckoned with." -Toronto Star

"Dickensian names are no accident in this bursting-at-the-seams tale, which offers up murder, perverse sex, Freudian mother-son and father-daughter angst and anti-technology paranoia to feast upon." -USA Today

"Franzen, as usual, writes superb prose. . . . Franzen aims for the heart as much as the mind, and in the end he scores a clean hit." -Winnipeg Free Press

"A superb novel . . . fascinating characters and a deeply satisfying plot." -Slate

"Masterfully wrought . . . A perfectly paced, sharply observed, consummately crafted narrative of secrets, sex, international espionage and missing nuclear weapons . . . Purity should be a blockbuster." -Los Angeles Review of Books

"No one is better than Franzen at showing small lives are never small to those who live them." -GQ (UK)

"Franzen is the most intelligent novelist of my generation, and this shows when he allows his prodigious imagination to flow into the crevices of his invented world and give it the texture of lived experience. . . . These pages are brilliant." -New Republic

"Absorbing . . . Franzen expands his great theme of the rub between close relationships and personal freedom to encompass the push and pull between openness and privacy." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Jonathan Franzen has proven himself as the master of the addicting, readable American novel." -Paste Magazine

"Conversational, enormously intelligent prose that wears its subtlety and precision lightly."
-The Independent (UK)
Biographical NoteJONATHAN FRANZEN is the author of four novels (Freedom, The Corrections, Strong Motion, and The Twenty-Seventh City), two collections of essays (Farther Away, How to Be Alone), a personal history (The Discomfort Zone), and translations of Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening and Karl Kraus. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.