Mr. Orthofer is well ahead of us. It looks like Jonathan Franzen has a new book, but it’s not a novel. It’s a memoir. Even worse, the book’s called The Discomfort Zone. We suppose that J-Franz should be extolled for truth in advertising. But we wonder if Franzen is venturing down the same unfortunate road as DFW. Like DFW, Franzen, after a major absence from writing (five years for Franzen, ten for DFW), has failed to write a novel after a well received title. After all, if David Mitchell has the cojones to follow up Cloud Atlas and offer a major departure in form, shouldn’t DFW or J-Franz have similar brass balls to follow up their highly regarded novels? Or perhaps the British have more courage and the American writers are just plain chicken.
© 2006, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.