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Franzen, Jonathan

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1959-    ) US author best known for later nonfantastic novels, beginning with The Corrections (2002); his earlier work shares with Don DeLillo some of the older author's unrelenting focus on the Paranoia-inducing intricacies of American life, and with contemporaries like Michael Chabon or Jonathan Lethem an Equipoisal facility in grasping the worlds faced. The later novels are more subtle, but their bad temper about the world may not seem an entirely satisfactory substitute for the direct address of Fantastika. Franzen's first novel, The Twenty-Seventh City (1988), evokes though does not plunge fully into the implications possible in a genuine urban fantasy; but the distressing invasion of St Louis (the City in the title) by a Native American woman, who almost occultly becomes its mayor in her attempt to regain land stolen from her people, slantingly but sharply evokes the Mysterious Stranger topos. Strong Motion (1992), set in a Near Future Boston, presciently traces the effects of illegal drilling for oil in New England: a series of large earthquakes which partially destroy the previously stable port city. [JC]

Jonathan Franzen

born Western Springs, Illinois: 17 August 1959

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