Ever since Jonathan Franzen wowed the literary world with his 2001 novel The Corrections, he's been hailed as the next great American writer. His latest book Freedom, out in paperback later this month, was another roundly praised bestseller. At this point, Franzen makes it look easy.
But as he tells Kurt Andersen, his epic about a colorful, troubled Midwestern family took years to write: "I had to develop this parallel world in which to pour my experience because I couldn't really write about what was going on with me in the '60s and '70s – [I] just couldn't go there."
(Originally aired: September 10, 2010)
Bonus Track: More With Franzen
Our extended cut of Kurt's conversation with Jonathan Franzen, in which the novelist talks about the influence of Tolstoy on his writing, and laments being recognized during a trip to the supermarket for sugar-free Jell-O.
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