…Jonathan Franzen’s “Purity,” which I’d picked off the “free” shelf at Café Bongo. (Somebody must not’ve like it, since the usual up-for-grabs is more like “The World of Musical Comedy,” (3d ed., 1966), a new quality hardcover being about as rare as a Shakespeare First folio.) Anyway, after two volumes of Knausgaard, it was a treat to be engaged with a central character like Pip, who kept me smiling throughout entire 20-page sittings.
The company of other characters, whom Franzen centered other sections on, I didn’t enjoy as much. There are involvements with the evil of Wiki-source-types and the totalitarianism of the Internet I didn’t spend the time on I assume the author would have preferred. (When I want to be informed about public issues, I prefer mounting a stationary bike beside my pal Budd to listening to novelists with whom I am barely acquainted.) But the heaven-forbid plot hooked me. I was steadily drawn along, pins-and-needled over how Franzen’d work things out.
Now all open the NYRB and see what Diane Johnson wants me to think about the book. And I’m ready for “My Struggle” 3.