Writers Who Read #42

5 June 2022

by Jonathan Franzen

Author/Publisher Intent

Stylistic Choices

Structure, Pacing

Climax - what changed?

Scene sleuthing

Crossroads - Jonathan Franzen

  • Marketing: Family Life Fiction, Literary Fiction, American Literature
  • Genre: Historical Archplot Longform
  • Print Pages: 592
  • Word count: 218,711; Avg. wds/sent.: 13.34
  • Reading Grade: 8th; Lexical Density: 46.64
  • Flesch Reading Ease: 72.20

  • POV: Russ, Marion, Becky, Clem, Perry; Person: 3rd; Tense: Past

  • Publish date: October 5, 2021
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Sold By: Macmillan
  • Audio book narr.: David Pittu (24 hours 57 minutes)

  • Awards: Best Books of the Year 2021: Time Magazine, Amazon.com, NPR, The Guardian (UK), LA Times, Washington Post, Hudson Booksellers, Vogue Magazine, Minneapolis Star Tribune, NY Times Book Review, Seattle Times, Financial Times, Oprah.com, Kirkus Reviews,Slate Book Review, USA Today
  • About Jonathan Franzen (b. 1959)

  • 6 Novels: The Twenty–Seventh City (1988), Strong Motion (1992), The Corrections (2001), Freedom (2010), Purity (2015)

  • Essayist: New Yorker, Harpers
  • Literary movements: Social Realism, New Sincerity

  • Notable awards: National Book Award (2001), James Tait Black Memorial Prize (2002)
  • Notable feuds: Oprah (2001-), Twitter, e-books

Crossroads - Jonathan Franzen

  • Part 1 of 3 - trilogy entitled: The Key to all Mythologies
  • (Hildebrandt family, spanning 50 years)

  • The Key to all Mythologies is also the title of Rev. Edward Casaubon's failed novel in George Eliot's Middlemarch, intended as a monument to Christian syncretism, but his research is out of date as he cannot read German. He is aware of this but admits it to no one.

  • Syncretism
  • [New Latin syncretismus, from Greek synkrētismos federation of Cretan cities, from synkrētizein to unite against a common enemy] First known use: 1618 (sense 1)

  • 1 : the reconciliation or union of conflicting (as religious) beliefs or an effort intending such; specifically : a movement of a Lutheran party in the 17th century led by George Calixtus seeking the union of Protestant sects with each other and with the Roman Catholic Church
  • 2 : flagrant compromise in religion or philosophy : eclecticism that is illogical or leads to inconsistency : uncritical acceptance of conflicting or divergent beliefs or principles
  • 3 : the developmental process of historical growth within a religion by accretion and coalescence of different and often originally conflicting forms of belief and practice through the interaction with or supersession of other religions
  • 4 : the union or fusion into one of two or more originally different inflectional forms”

  • — Webster's Third New International Dictionary Unabridged

Novel Countour Map

Around the Table

Always refer back to the book

Favorite Sentence?

Writers Who Read: Coming Up

Summer Break
Gary presenting at RMFW Conference Friday, September 9
Start back up again on Sunday, October 2

Thanks to: Boulder Writers Alliance

Contact Gary: hello@garyalanmcbride.com
Literary Forensics Resources