The Irrelevancy of Jonathan Franzen
I've been scratching my head for a while trying to work out just why it is that Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections is such a bad, and badly overrated, novel —and have just found in an old Don DeLillo interview from The New York Times in 1982 a comment by him which strikes me as Franzen in a nutshell:
Critic Diane Johnson has written that Mr. DeLillo's books have gone unread because "they deal with deeply shocking things about America that people would rather not face."
"I do try to confront realities,'' Mr. DeLillo responds. "But people would rather read about their own marriages and separations and trips to Tanglewood. There's an entire school of American fiction which might be called around-the-house-and-in-the-yard. And I think people like to read this kind of work because it adds a certain luster, a certain significance to their own lives."
Perfect (read the interview here).