Here is the question that came into my head as I finished the novel I went to three St. Paul bookstores to find: Who is Jonathan Franzen and why did someone let him into our house?
This is from p. 511 of Freedom, where one of the main characters, Patty (who had "escaped" from New York to Minnesota 30 years before), has returned to the Westchester home of her estranged parents, Joyce and Ray:
Patty went with much fear and trembling and found her childhood home little changed from the last time she'd set foot in it. ... Ray's towers of Times-recommended books [were] even higher and more teetering, Joyce's binders of untried Times Food Section recipes even thicker, the piles of unread Times Sunday magazines even more yellowed, the bins of recyclables even more overflowing, the results of Joyce's wishful attempts to be a flower gardener even more poignantly weedy and random, the reflexive liberalism of her worldview even more impervious to reality ...
I liked this book, but I remember liking The Corrections even better. I'll have to re-read the earlier book to remember why.