Quick one this, not part of the catch-up series, but about a book I’m only a quarter of the way through: Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. Having recently finished Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter I was less than thrilled to find that one of the central characters in The Corrections was a failed, frustrated, generally inadequate American man, whose life was crumbling around him after an affair with a much younger woman; talk about a well-trodden path.
The story plodded along for the first hundred or so pages, detailing this guy’s steady descent and degradation (at one point he desperately begs for his virtually adolescent beau not to leave the seedy motel they’d been staying in; she does, of course). I was getting pretty weary when, suddenly, the story shifts gear completely with the introduction of a completely unforeseen business opportunity involving travel to the former Soviet Bloc. I guess the opening passages were necessary for the switch to (a) come as a surprise, and (b) leave the feeling of acceleration it did? Or could we just have skipped (at least some of) the opening?