The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History

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9780007240586: The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History

Brilliant, award-winning memoir from the author of ‘The Corrections’.

Jonathan Franzen, bestselling author of ‘Freedom’ and the highly acclaimed ‘The Corrections’, arrived late, and last, in a family of boys in Webster Groves, Missouri. ‘The Discomfort Zone’ is his intimate memoir of his growth from a ‘small and fundamentally ridiculous person,’ through an adolescence both excruciating and strangely happy, into an adult with embarrassing and unexpected passions. It's also a portrait of a middle-class family weathering the turbulence of the 1970s, and a vivid personal insight into the decades in which America took an angry turn away from its mid-century ideals.

He tells of the effects of Kafka's fiction on Franzen's protracted quest to lose his virginity, the elaborate pranks that he and his friends orchestrated from the roof of his high school, his self-inflicted travails in selling his mother's house after her death, the web of connections between his all-consuming marriage, the problem of global warming, and the life lessons to be learned in watching birds.

Sparkling, daring and arrestingly honest, ‘The Discomfort Zone’ is warmed by the same combination of comic scrutiny and unqualified affection that characterize Franzen's fiction. It narrates the formation of a unique mind and heart in the crucible of an everyday American family.

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Review:

Praise for ‘The Corrections’:

‘A book which is funny, moving, generous, brutal and intelligent, and which poses the ultimate question, what life is for – and that is as much as anyone could ask.' Blake Morrison, Guardian

'For anyone who has ever found themselves guiltily yearning for an Anne Tyler while in the middle of an Updike or Wolfe. The Lamberts are utterly believable, and once they have all told their stories you can't help but sympathise with them. Be prepared to be moved.' Laurence Phelan, Independent on Sunday

'Compelling. A pleasure from beginning to end. Franzen, in one leap, has put himself into the league of Updike & Roth. That's why there is so much excitement about it.' David Sexton, Evening Standard

'A novel of outstanding sympathy, wit, moral intelligence and pathos, a family saga told with stylistic brio and psychological and political insight. No British novelist is currently writing at this pitch.' Jeremy Treglowen, Financial Times

'Impossible to dislike, an unpretentious page-turner.' Zadie Smith, Guardian (Books of the Year)

Book Description:

BRILLIANT, AWARD-WINNING PERSONAL HISTORY FROM THE AUTHOR OF The Corrections

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