How to Be Alone: Essays

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

How to Be Alone: Essays

by Jonathan Franzen

Picador | October 1, 2003 | Trade Paperback |

Not yet rated | write a review
From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics

While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each one wrestles with the essential themes of Franzen''s writing: the erosion of civil life and private dignity; and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Reprinted here for the first time is Franzen's controversial l996 investigation of the fate of the American novel in what became known as "the Harper''s essay," as well as his award-winning narrative of his father''s struggle with Alzheimer''s disease, and a rueful account of his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 Pages, 5.12 × 8.27 × 0.79 in

Published: October 1, 2003

Publisher: Picador

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312422164

ISBN - 13: 9780312422165

save
28%

In Stock Hurry, only 0 left! Not yet released

$14.06  ea

Online Price

$18.50 List Price

or, Used from $5.04

eGift this item

Give this item in the form of an eGift Card.

+ what is this?

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Reviews

– More About This Product –

How to Be Alone: Essays

by Jonathan Franzen

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 320 Pages, 5.12 × 8.27 × 0.79 in

Published: October 1, 2003

Publisher: Picador

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312422164

ISBN - 13: 9780312422165

Read from the Book

A WORD ABOUT THIS BOOK MY THIRD NOVEL, The Corrections, which I’d worked on for many years, was published a week before the World Trade Center fell. This was a time when it seemed that the voices of self and commerce ought to fall silent—a time when you wanted, in Nick Carraway’s phrase, “the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever.” Nevertheless, business is business. Within forty-eight hours of the calamity, I was giving interviews again. My interviewers were particularly interested in what they referred to as “the Harper’s essay.” (Nobody used the original title, “Perchance to Dream,” that the magazine’s editors had given it.) Interviews typically began with the question: “In your Harper’s essay in 1996, you promised that your third book would be a big social novel that would engage with mainstream culture and rejuvenate American literature; do you think you’ve kept that promise with The Corrections?” To each succeeding interviewer I explained that, no, to the contrary, I had barely mentioned my third novel in the essay; that the notion of a “promise” had been invented out of thin air by an editor or a headline writer at the Times Sunday Magazine; and that, in fact, far from promising to write a big social novel that would bring news to the mainstream, I’d taken the essay as an opportunity to renounce that variety of ambition. Because most int
read more read less

Table of Contents

"A Word About This Book"

"My Father''s Brain"

"Imperial Bedroom"

"Why Bother"

"Lost in the Mail"

"Erika Imports"

"Sifting the Ashes"

"A Reader in Exile"

"First City"

"Scavenging"

"Control Units"

"Mr. Difficult"

"Books in Bed"

"Meet Me in St. Louis"

"Inauguration Day, January 2001"

From the Publisher

From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics

While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each one wrestles with the essential themes of Franzen''s writing: the erosion of civil life and private dignity; and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Reprinted here for the first time is Franzen's controversial l996 investigation of the fate of the American novel in what became known as "the Harper''s essay," as well as his award-winning narrative of his father''s struggle with Alzheimer''s disease, and a rueful account of his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author.

About the Author

Jonathan Franzen won the National Book Award for fiction for The Corrections in 2001, and is the author of two other critically acclaimed novels, The Twenty-Seventh City and Strong Motion. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Harper''s.

Editorial Reviews

"The welcome paradox in How to be Alone is that the reader need not feel isolated at all. . ..This collection emphasizes [Franzen''s] elegance, acumen and daring as an essayist, with an intellectually engaging self-awareness as formidable as Joan Didion''s." --The New York Times

"Why be alone? For the pleasure of reading books such as this." --Entertainment Weekly

"Franzen critiques the alienating effects of postmodern America with just as much passion as he displays in his fiction. . .he cuts to the truth with razor-sharp precision. . . These essays offer a great reason to turn of the TV and spend the evening alone, lost in thought." --Time Out New York

"How to be Alone reaffirms the novelist''s prerogative to engage in social criticism. And Franzen''s calm, passionate critical authority derives not from any special expertise in criminology, neurology or postal science, but rather from the fact that, as a novelist, he is principally concerned with the messy architecture of the self." --The New York Times Book Review

"There is here the eloquence and sensitivity and profound personal engagement that is only possible with the printed word--and, even then, only when it has no fear of being literature. Put Franzen among the living heroes of it." --The Buffalo News
Item not added

This item is not available to order at this time.

See used copies from 00.00
  • My Gift List
  • My Wish List
  • Shopping Cart