by: Jonathan Franzen
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 for their keen-eyed take on contemporary America. Now, in Crossroads, Franzen ventures back into the past and explores the history of two generations. With characteristic humor and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that resonates powerfully with our own.
A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. Jonathan Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓
I love all of Jonathan Franzen’s books about dysfunctional families and relationships. An ex-boyfriend actually sent me The Corrections right after he dumped me- not sure what the message was there- ha! Anyway, Crossroads is a typical Franzen novel – the characters are dark and flawed, it is long and rambling, but it sure is readable. This book is part one of a trilogy. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I certainly enjoyed it!
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓1/2
Loved this one too! A little painful to read, but worth it! And by painful, I mean you can see it coming, but you just can’t stop it – like the proverbial train wreck. Franzen takes you deep into the psyche of his characters – in this case, a struggling midwestern family in the early 70’s. Angst, guilt, morality/immorality, religion, alcohol, drugs, sex, breakdowns, responsibility/irresponsibility and more -this is a real family drama. And if you are a child of the 60’s and 70’s, I guarantee there will be more than a few situations that provoke memories. Again, smart, creative, complex, and entertaining – read it!