Day 6 debates whether Jonathan Franzen's Freedom lives up to the hype


First aired on Day 6 (25/09/10)

Everyone is talking about Jonathan Franzen's novel Freedom, the saga of a suburban American family in St. Paul, Minnesota, who are haunted by unrealized dreams and regrets aplenty.

The New York Times. The Times. Oprah. They are lauding Franzen as the great American author and heir to Philip Roth's throne, and heaping praise on Freedom as a note-perfect portrait of a contemporary American family. Unlike in 2001, when Franzen spurned Oprah and spent the following decade hearing about it, the 51-year-old novelist is now the literary golden boy, the man who will save publishing and redefine American literature.

Freedom the real deal? Or are we simply getting swept along in a tidal wave of literary love? Day 6 spoke with Becky Toyne, a Toronto bookseller, writer and editor, to determine whether it's really worth wading through this epic saga and what the average reader will get out of this 576-page critical darling.

Haven't read it yet? Toyne makes a pretty persuasive case for the book, but warns it's long, it's heavy and everyone who sees you carrying it will want to stop and talk about it.

"Freedom is something that is all story, it's really moorish and kind of soap opera-y. You will just want to keep turning the pages until you're done," Toyne revealed.

Still not convinced? Listen to Toyne talk Freedom with Day 6's host Brent Bambury and decide for yourself.

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