Book cover - The Corrections - Author Jonathan Franzen

The Corrections

Author Jonathan Franzen

  • Release Date: 2001-09-15
  • Genre: Literary
Our score: 4
From 769 Ratings

The Corrections Summary

The Corrections - Winner of the 2001 National Book Award for Fiction
Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award
An American Library Association Notable Book

Jonathan Franzen's third novel, The Corrections, is a great work of art and a grandly entertaining overture to our new century: a bold, comic, tragic, deeply moving family drama that stretches from the Midwest at mid-century to Wall Street and Eastern Europe in the age of greed and globalism. Franzen brings an old-time America of freight trains and civic duty, of Cub Scouts and Christmas cookies and sexual inhibitions, into brilliant collision with the modern absurdities of brain science, home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare, and the anti-gravity New Economy. With The Corrections, Franzen emerges as one of our premier interpreters of American society and the American soul.

Enid Lambert is terribly, terribly anxious. Although she would never admit it to her neighbors or her three grown children, her husband, Alfred, is losing his grip on reality. Maybe it's the medication that Alfred takes for his Parkinson's disease, or maybe it's his negative attitude, but he spends his days brooding in the basement and committing shadowy, unspeakable acts. More and more often, he doesn't seem to understand a word Enid says.

Trouble is also brewing in the lives of Enid's children. Her older son, Gary, a banker in Philadelphia, has turned cruel and materialistic and is trying to force his parents out of their old house and into a tiny apartment. The middle child, Chip, has suddenly and for no good reason quit his exciting job as a professor at D------ College and moved to New York City, where he seems to be pursuing a "transgressive" lifestyle and writing some sort of screenplay. Meanwhile the baby of the family, Denise, has escaped her disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain of an affair with a married man--or so Gary hints.

Enid, who loves to have fun, can still look forward to a final family Christmas and to the ten-day Nordic Pleasurelines Luxury Fall Color Cruise that she and Alfred are about to embark on. But even these few remaining joys are threatened by her husband's growing confusion and unsteadiness. As Alfred enters his final decline, the Lamberts must face the failures, secrets, and long-buried hurts that haunt them as a family if they are to make the corrections that each desperately needs.

The Corrections Review

  • Five Stars

    By brennansgranmom
    I loved The Corrections and looked forward to reading every evening. I’m sorry now if finished and that they’re not part of my world any longer! This is a raw look at what really happens between family members and it’s easy to recognize those you know- I’m so glad to have found this author!
  • It depends on what you’re looking for…

    By Deni6'4"
    I have rarely felt that a book was so technically and thematically brilliant, but also so raw and unnerving. I can’t say I “enjoyed” this book because it is quite frankly depressing and almost “too real.” But I’ve read a lot of Franzen and he is truly an incredible writer (e.g. precise vocabulary choice, beautiful prose, relevant cultural themes, detailed character/plot development, etc.). And so while I absolutely appreciate this novel as the outstanding literary work that it is, it was often a very gut-wrenching and sad read for me. If you are looking for a book that truly and painfully reflects some of the hard and dark struggles/choices in life, this is it. If you’re looking for a story with fun and joy, or light/fast reading, this is NOT it.
  • Meh

    By GiuliaNYC
    Had a few LOL moments but otherwise, Meh. Quit 1/3 through
  • Phenomenal

    By Racniccha
    If I ever got married, they'ed have to read this first
  • Excessive

    By Emmet Aloysius
    Franzen is a great writer but his books are excessive in length and expression. It seems as if he is trying to prove how smart he is instead of just telling an interesting story for our enjoyment...EAF
  • The Corrections

    By WalkingonSand
    One of the better writers of his generation, Franzen explores life in this must read.
  • Don't deny yourself.

    By Meghana N
    This is a painfully truthful book about life (as most anyone knows it) that you can't turn away from.
  • Beautiful

    By BrianCarter
    This is a book that generates strong emotions, you will either love it, or you will hate it. Either way, I have yet to meet someone who didn't have strong feelings about it. My view: I think this is my favorite book. There aren't a lot of books that keep me thinking about them months and years later. I identified very strongly with the Lamberts, even though they are nothing like me, they were still so familiar. Incidentally, another book that made me feel this way was Franzen's other book, 'Freedom'. In any case, my wife hated it and couldn't finish it. Only time I've seen her put down a book.
  • Terrific

    By Handke
  • Brilliant!

    By Lisa Barton
    I absolutely loved this novel! I was enthralled with the prose, feelings, and social cues we generally go through as humans but never really name is expressed in this novel and was my favorite part. What an eye opener! I feel this brilliant author of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen who is an absolute a genius in his production of this literary book, as well as his other works, novels, etc. I don't understand why his novels are so harshly criticized. If you had choice to read James Patterson's mass produced books with co-authors and two page chapter's, what's the point? He , Patterson , is trying to make a lot of money off waco' murderers who he co-writes and in one of he books he commented that he uas 19 books going at once! How can he nurture and care deeply about the mass production of writing a book every two months and then you compare it to Jonathan Franzen's novels, you would see the brilliance of Mr. Franzen. He is so careful with each word and sentence structure albeit painfully constructed, it is something you would love to read his works. What a refreshing literary piece to sink your teeth into. Loved it! I intend to read every book he wrote and I also compare this author of our times as up there with Tennessee Williams and Lord Byron and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Mr. Franzen has to be the best intellectually stimulating writer of our times! As usual, Oprah always picks the best books to read. I haven't read a bad one yet. Sorry Franzen, I know you want to have your material stand for itself, however because of Ms. Winfrey, I never would of known of your awesome works! You are simply the best and a pure genius!


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