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Freedom

by Jonathan Franzen

How freedom, like integrity, gets corrupted by ambition, greed, and blind pursuit of a single good - that's a common enough theme, but this setting among neo-Reaganites and pseudo-liberals shows just how far postmodernism has shifted the ground from beneath any recognisable moral markers. Patty's self-therapeutic, third person autobiographical voice is a big ask and something of a challenge. Suspend your disbelief and immerse yourself.

Extract

He sat for more than an hour, fiddling with his non-receiving BlackBerry and listening to the mindless waste of fossil fuel as the backhoe behind him idled. When the driver finally thought to turn it off, he heard a chorus of engines from farther back- another four or five heavy trucks and earthmovers were backed up now. Somebody needed to summon the state police to deal with Zorn and her zealots. In the meantime, incredibly, in deepest Wyoming County, he was stopped dead in traffic. Lalitha was running up and down the road, conferring with the various parties, doing her best to spread goodwill. To pass the time, Walter did mental tallies of what had gone wrong in the hours since he'd awakened in the Days Inn. Net population gain: 60,000.

Parallels

On Beauty by Zadie Smith
A Foreign Country by Francine Stock
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
 

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