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Scott Lax Blog

On Jonathan Franzen's FREEDOM

Jonathan Franzen has written what many are calling a great novel: FREEDOM. I haven't read it, so I can't comment on the work itself, but I can say that Franzen acts like a writer, by all accounts.

And I like that. A lot.

What I mean is that he isn't primarily a self-marketeer; he isn't a novelist that tries to figure out what will sell and what the trends are. From everything I've read about him, it seems he is a man who loves language and how people use it and how they relate to one another with it; and then he translates that to fiction, which is, for many of us, as important and true as anything that's actually happened. Fiction goes to the heart of life.

I hope Franzen's passion for writing literary fiction makes an impact on readers in the same way as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Phillip Roth, Sherman Alexie and Tim O'Brien have made. We need stories about love and family and everyday life, not just about vampires.

Literary fiction is to writing what organic food from the farmer's market is to your dinner plate. I hope that Franzen is one of the new breed of chefs.

I'll be back with how the dinner tasted soon; in the meantime, I applaud Jonathan Franzen for keeping the faith.  Read More