Farther Away is a 2012 collection of essays by the American writer Jonathan Franzen.
Most of the essays previously appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, and others.
Table of contents
- “Pain Won't Kill You” (2011)
- “Farther Away” (2011)
- “The Greatest Family Ever Storied” (2010)
- “Hornets” (2010)
- “The Ugly Mediterranean” (2010)
- “The Corn King” (2010)
- “On Autobiographical Fiction” (2009)
- “I Just Called To Say I Love You” (2008)
- “David Foster Wallace” (2008)
- “The Chinese Puffin” (2008)
- “On The Laughing Policeman” (2008)
- “Comma-Then” (2008)
- “Authentic But Horrible” (2007)
- “Interview With New York State” (2007)
- “Love Letters” (2005)
- “Our Little Planet” (2005)
- “The End Of The Binge” (2005)
- “What Makes You So Sure You're Not The Evil One Yourself?” (2004)
- “Our Relations : A Brief History” (2004)
- “The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit” (2002)
- “No End To It” (1998)
In The New York Times Book Review, the essayist Phillip Lopate wrote the pieces "demonstrate [Franzen's] generosity, humanity and love of fiction, as well as his own preference for the morally complex over the sentimental. The struggle to be a good human being, against the pulls of solipsism and narcissism, can be glimpsed in every page of these essays, which if nothing else offer a telling battle report from within the consciousness of one of our major novelists."
In the English newspaper The Guardian, writer and critic Geoff Dyer found advances over Franzen's previous essay collection, How to Be Alone: "Franzen seems more gregarious than he was in How to be Alone...These essays are exemplary instances of reader-friendly criticism in that they can be studied profitably even by people unfamiliar with the works in question. They also display [a] related side-effect of becoming a great novelist. That the great novelist is, by default, a great reader...One way or another, the essays in Farther Away are attempts to enlarge the place where literature, and the responsiveness to it, can be preserved."
Jonathan Franzen's Freedom was the runaway most-discussed novel of 2010, an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the twenty-first century. In The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus proclaimed it "a masterpiece of American fiction" and lauded its illumination, "through the steady radiance of its author's profound moral intelligence, [of] the worJonathan Franzen's Freedom was the runaway most-discussed novel of 2010, an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the twenty-first century. In The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus proclaimed it "a masterpiece of American fiction" and lauded its illumination, "through the steady radiance of its author's profound moral intelligence, [of] the world we thought we knew."
In Farther Away, which gathers together essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, Franzen returns with renewed vigor to the themes, both human and literary, that have long preoccupied him. Whether recounting his violent encounter with bird poachers in Cyprus, examining his mixed feelings about the suicide of his friend and rival David Foster Wallace, or offering a moving and witty take on the ways that technology has changed how people express their love, these pieces deliver on Franzen's implicit promise to conceal nothing. On a trip to China to see first-hand the environmental devastation there, he doesn't omit mention of his excitement and awe at the pace of China's economic development; the trip becomes a journey out of his own prejudice and moral condemnation. Taken together, these essays trace the progress of unique and mature mind wrestling with itself, with literature, and with some of the most important issues of our day. Farther Away is remarkable, provocative, and necessary....more
Hardcover, 321 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2012)