Jonathan Franzen: Crossroads

The Wheeler Centre

Event Date: 
29 October 2021
Author / Presenters: 
Jonathan Franzen and Sarah Kanowski

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‘My despair about the American novel began in the winter of 1991, when I fled to Yaddo, the artists’ colony in upstate New York, to write the last two chapters of my second book […] I began to think the most reasonable thing for a citizen to do might be to enter a monastery and pray for humanity.’

It’s been 25 years since Jonathan Franzen published his landmark essay ‘Why Bother?’ in Harper’s Magazine. It detailed his ‘despair about the American novel’ as it then faced down the looming distractions of the technological age and the out-of-touch, military-obsessed politicians of the 1990s. Sound familiar?

In the years since, Franzen has continued to write and release best-selling, critically-acclaimed novels – including The Corrections, Freedom and Purity – exploring politics, families, and the social dynamics that ensnare our lives.

Franzen’s latest novel, Crossroads, is a sweeping investigation of human mythologies as the Hildebrandt family navigates the political, intellectual, and social crosscurrents of the past 50 years. This epic family saga spans three generations and traces the inner life of our culture through to the present day.

In his first Australian event celebrating the release of this highly-anticipated new work, the singular Jonathan Franzen will discuss family, America, and where the modern novel must go from here with ABC Radio National’s Sarah Kanowski.

The online bookseller for this event is Hill of Content

Presented in partnership with Byron Writers Festival and Newcastle Writers Festival