Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Sycophants

The book: Jonathan Franzen's much-hyped breakthrough novel The Corrections

The quote: "No British novelist is currently writing at this pitch."

The reviewer: Jeremy Treglown, Financial Times

Honourable mentions:
"Franzen, in one leap, has put himself into the league of Updike and Roth."
David Sexton, Evening Standard

"A genuine masterpiece, the first great American novel of the twentieth century."
Will Blyth, Elle

"Franzen has delivered as wounding and thoughtful an indictment of contemporary existence as it is possible to make."
John Burnside, Scotsman

The verdict: I loved The Corrections but no book could live up to that embarrassing gush. It's certainly not worth throwing all contemporary British novelists under the bus in order to praise it. Treglown is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Warwick, and should know better.

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