Set in a historical moment of moral crisis, Crossroads is the stunning foundation of a sweeping investigation of human mythologies, as the Hildebrandt family navigate the political and social crosscurrents of the past fifty years
‘The Corrections was a masterpiece, but Crossroads is [Franzen’s] finest novel yet’ Bookforum
A Daily Mail Most Anticipated Book of 2021 * A Guardian Most Anticipated Book of 2021 * A Times Most Ancipated Book of 2021 * A Glasgow Herald Most Anticipated Book of 2021
It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless – unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh-graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.
Jonathan Franzen’s novels are celebrated for their unforgettably vivid characters and their keen-eyed take on the complexities of contemporary America. Now, for the first time, in Crossroads, Franzen explores the history of a generation. With characteristic humour and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that feels no less immediate.
A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a historical moment of moral crisis. Jonathan Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.
‘Franzen is a master of rendering the broad sweep of humanity through the (extremely human) minutia of a family … What more could a reader ask for, really?’ Lit Hub
Praise for Jonathan Franzen: 'A literary genius for our time' Guardian 'Arguably America's greatest living novelist' Daily Telegraph 'Franzen is that rare bird: a literary novelist of the highest distinction who has also become one of the bestsellers of the age' Evening Standard 'Franzen's words crackle with with humour and wisdom' Shortlist Praise for Crossroads: 'Franzen is a master of rendering the broad sweep of humanity through the (extremely human) minutia of a family. In Crossroads, I felt a frustration and fondness for the Hildebrandts so deep it was almost familial. This is, perhaps, [Franzen's] greatest skill as a writer ... What more could a reader ask for, really?' Lit Hub 'The Corrections was a masterpiece, but Crossroads is [Franzen's] finest novel yet ... He has arrived at last as an artist whose first language, faced with the society of greed, is not ideological but emotional, and whose emotions, fused with his characters, tend more toward sorrow and compassion than rage and self-contempt' Bookforum 'A compelling examination of faith, privilege and ambition' Time 'Franzen's intensely absorbing novel is amusing, excruciating, and at times unexpectedly uplifting in a word, exquisite' Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 'Sweeping and masterly ... Throughout, Franzen exhibits his remarkable ability to build suspense through fraught interpersonal dynamics. It's irresistible.' Publishers Weekly (starred review) [A] masterful, Tolstoian saga ... This masterpiece of social realism vividly captures each character's internal conflicts as a response to and a reflection of societal expectations, while Franzen expertly explores the fissions of domestic life, mining the rich mineral beneath the sediments of familial discord' Booklist
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