— Maria Bustillos, getting the latest Franzen kerfuffle exactly right. (Also: preëminently!)
You get a haircut
Ordinary people laugh
Do friends? No, they don’t.
A haiku about friendship written by a young Jonathan Franzen. Found in The Discomfort Zone, which we recommend.
“I don’t wish to convey messages—period. But I look carefully at certain situations in the world and try to render them honestly. And if someone perceives that to be a bleak situation, it’s the situation’s fault, not mine!”
— My interview with Jonathan Franzen is up at Goodreads. I had trouble picking a favorite part and settled on this. Other contenders were: his evaluation of the pros and cons (primarily cons) of the institution of marriage, his succinct summary of the history of the novel, and the part where I asked if he still wore earmuffs and blindfolds to write and he said “Oh well, yeah, of course, but doesn’t everybody?”
The McNally Jackson tumblr will soon start posting about things other than Jonathan Franzen. (Expect one more tomorrow.) Promise. But this!
In ur fieldz, limning your datum
|Q:||Is it out yet?|
|A:||Tuesday the 31st.|
|Q:||But I want it now.|
|Q:||Have you read it? Is it good?|
|A:||I have. It is. Though I fear that expectations are outpacing reality and people are going to be disappointed, because how could any book be as good as all that hype? Backlashes are boring.|
|Q:||Did you read The Corrections?|
|Q:||WHICH IS BETTER?|
|A:||Well--okay. When The Corrections came out I was a freshman in high school, so I was more concerned with, I don't know, zits and punk rock than I was with literary fiction. I was up at my mom's place years later and without a book. She had a copy. I started reading it, not having read any Franzen or knowing exactly what was going on--just that it was maybe a famous book--and obviously it was exciting stumbling on something that great. Literally actually stumbling: It was a hardcover and being used as a doorstop.|
|Q:||Answer the question.|
|A:||I enjoyed The Corrections more--for the newness, the discovery--but Freedom might be the better book.|
|Q:||So, can I buy it?|
Speaking at Harvard yesterday during a discussion with literary critic James Wood, Jonathan Franzen said that “the stupidest person in New York City is currently the lead reviewer of fiction for the New York Times.” (via Jonathan Franzen: Michiko Kakutani Is ‘The Stupidest Person in New York City’ | The New York Observer)