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PURITY BY JONATHAN FRANZEN

There was a broad alignment of opinion on most aspects of the book except its length. One view was that the text said all that needed to be said; others found some of the detail irrelevant and taxing to read. Most were agreed that Franzen is a clever if not brilliant writer.  Here he weaves a prodigious cast of characters in a complex web of events taking place mostly in America at the time of the fall of the Berlin wall.

No less than two monstrous matriarchs take centre stage; with absent, rejected or unknown fathers and predatory and submissive lovers playing their part, in a series of interlocking and mostly disastrous relationships. Into this mix he rehearses his own well-known political hobby-horses: the death of privacy; the evils of the internet; modern identity crisis.

Franzen has been compared to Dickens but we felt that the comparison did not stand up.

Available from all good bookstores and online.

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