The Corrections

The Corrections

Book - 2001
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Winner of the 2001 National Book Award for Fiction
Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award
An American Library Association Notable Book

Jonathan Franzen's third novel, The Corrections , is a great work of art and a grandly entertaining overture to our new century: a bold, comic, tragic, deeply moving family drama that stretches from the Midwest at mid-century to Wall Street and Eastern Europe in the age of greed and globalism. Franzen brings an old-time America of freight trains and civic duty, of Cub Scouts and Christmas cookies and sexual inhibitions, into brilliant collision with the modern absurdities of brain science, home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare, and the anti-gravity New Economy. With The Corrections , Franzen emerges as one of our premier interpreters of American society and the American soul.

Enid Lambert is terribly, terribly anxious. Although she would never admit it to her neighbors or her three grown children, her husband, Alfred, is losing his grip on reality. Maybe it's the medication that Alfred takes for his Parkinson's disease, or maybe it's his negative attitude, but he spends his days brooding in the basement and committing shadowy, unspeakable acts. More and more often, he doesn't seem to understand a word Enid says.

Trouble is also brewing in the lives of Enid's children. Her older son, Gary, a banker in Philadelphia, has turned cruel and materialistic and is trying to force his parents out of their old house and into a tiny apartment. The middle child, Chip, has suddenly and for no good reason quit his exciting job as a professor at D------ College and moved to New York City, where he seems to be pursuing a "transgressive" lifestyle and writing some sort of screenplay. Meanwhile the baby of the family,Denise, has escaped her disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain of an affair with a married man--or so Gary hints.

Enid, who loves to have fun, can still look forward to a final family Christmas and to the ten-day Nordic Pleasurelines Luxury Fall Color Cruise that she and Alfred are about to embark on. But even these few remaining joys are threatened by her husband's growing confusion and unsteadiness. As Alfred enters his final decline, the Lamberts must face the failures, secrets, and long-buried hurts that haunt them as a family if they are to make the corrections that each desperately needs.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374129989
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 567 p. ; 24 cm

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e
erinsnest
Mar 15, 2018

March 2018.......This is a book from my shelves in the basement. (An old library discard).....I kind of hated this at the beginning, (just depressing), then it jumped, and got more interesting, then, jumped again and got depressing again. In some places, it hit too close to home.....aging mother/father, losing their independence, becoming childlike, something I am dealing with at the moment, (along with all the physical stuff and junk that goes with that!) I ended up slightly liking it, but not nearly enough to keep. I found the writing a bit tough to get through at some points.....maybe that's just me?.......Off to the second hand store it goes!

m
myrtleturtle06
Nov 02, 2017

Lithuania

l
Leslie Hankins
Aug 30, 2017

Characters are interesting, book is well written (if tedious to read), and I learned some new words. But overall the story was far too depressing. Just about every story line was depressing.

t
theamazingandy
Jun 26, 2017

I think this is my favorite book of all time. Finishing it was like getting punched in the stomach, but in a good way. It was so beautiful and touching and relevant and human I cried through the last pages. Not because it was SAD! Well, the father's decline was somewhat sad, but because it is LIFE. A pure, uncut hit of the joy and sadness that make living what it is. I could go on all day but I have to go to work lol.

DBRL_IdaF May 05, 2017

Late in life, Enid Lambert comes to a realization: “What you discovered about yourself in raising children wasn’t always agreeable or attractive.” Still, Enid dreams of one last family Christmas with her three grown children before her husband Alfred’s health declines too much. Their kids’ lives are falling apart in various ways, and Enid’s campaign to bring them together reveals the weaknesses and the strengths of their family ties. There are power struggles galore, but also acts of incredible love and self-sacrifice, which gives them a lot in common with many real-life families.

a
ATGM
Sep 08, 2016

Compelling but unpleasant. I read the start, skimmed about a bit and read the end for closure.

s
santiano9
Jan 01, 2016

Uninteresting...could not muster empathy for any of the characters. Did not make it past page 50.

j
jimtony84
Oct 03, 2015

Never felt invited to be involved in people's lives; just an observer of other people's discomfort

multcolib_central Aug 08, 2014

A story of family turmoil told in the honest captivating style of Jonathan Franzen. "The Corrections" speak to the human experience in a way that makes the story resonate with readers in a meaningful way.

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lukasevansherman
Nov 04, 2013

Did you ever notice how there are a lot of younger novelists named Jonathan (Ames, Safron Foer, Lethem)? You'd think at least one would could by John or Johnny. Johnny Franzen famously pissed off Oprah when promoting this book. Some might call this one of the 00's great novels. Some would be wrong. Sure, Franzen's a skilled writer, but he's working territory that is familiar to readers of Yates, Updike and Cheever, which makes him feel a bit old fashioned. Plus he seems incapable of creating a sympathetic character. The overall feeling this creates is contempt. I also would've had a character say "I've got something you can correct!"

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sky123
Mar 01, 2018

She had fashioned images all her life and she'd never appreciated their mystery. Now here it was. All this commerce in bits and bytes, these ones and zeros streaming through servers at some midwestern university. So much evident trafficking in so much evident nothing. A population glued to screens and magazines.
She wondered: How could people respond to these images if images didn't secretly enjoy the same status as real things? Not that images were so powerful, but that the world was so weak. p326

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