Narrated By: Jonathan Franzen, Scott Shepherd
Duration: 8 hours and 41 minutes
What to expect
Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom was the runaway most-discussed novel of 2010, an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the 21st century. The editor of The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus, proclaimed it “a masterpiece of American fiction” and lauded its illumination, “through the steady radiance of its author’s profound moral intelligence, [of] the world we thought we knew.” Now, a new collection of Franzen’s nonfiction brings fresh evidence of that moral intelligence, confirming his status not only as a great American novelist but also as a master noticer, social critic, and self-investigator.
In Farther Away, which gathers together essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, the writer returns with renewed vigor to the themes, both human and literary, that have long preoccupied him. Whether recounting his violent encounter with bird poachers in Cyprus, examining his mixed feelings about the suicide of his friend and rival David Foster Wallace, or offering a moving and witty take on the ways that technology has changed how people express their love, these pieces deliver on Franzen’s implicit promise to conceal nothing from the reader. On a trip to China to see first-hand the environmental devastation there, he doesn’t omit to mention his excitement and awe at the pace of China’s economic development; the trip becomes a journey out of his own prejudice and moral condemnation. Taken together, these essays trace the progress of unique and mature mind wrestling with itself, with literature, and with some of the most important issues of our day. Farther Away is remarkable, provocative, and necessary.
Biography & non-fiction prose
Listen to a sample
Praise for ‘Freedom’
‘Deeper, funnier, sadder and truer than a work of fiction has any right to be’ Independent on Sunday
'Head and shoulders above any other book this year: moving, funny and unexpectedly beautiful. I missed it when it was over' Sam Mendes, Observer, Books of the Year
'A cat's cradle of family life, and if the measure of a good book is its afterburn, ‘Freedom’ is a great book' Kirsty Wark Observer, Books of the Year
'I loved ‘Freedom’. His acute observations of emotional faultlines, his dialogue and above all his wry humour are delightful' Antony Beevor, Sunday Telegraph, Books of the Year
'Franzen pulls off the extraordinary feat of making the lives of his characters more real to you than your own' David Hare, Guardian, Books of the Year
'No question about it: ‘Freedom’ swept everything before it in intricately observed, humane, unprejudiced armfuls. There was no novel to touch it in 2010' Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year
'By the end of ‘Freedom’ you may feel you understand its protagonists better than you know anyone in the world around you' Nicholas Hytner, Evening Standard, Books of the Year
'The novel of the year. Its portrait of a marriage, luminously and wittily drawn against a backdrop of modern America, is as good as literature gets' Sarah Sands, New Statesman, Books of the Year