By Jonathan Franzen
What’s it about?
This novel is set in New Prospect, Illinois in 1971. Russ Hildebrandt is an associate pastor in a suburban church with a wife and four children. As the novel switches narrators we learn the differing perspectives of each of the Hildebrandt family.
What did it make me think about?
This sprawling look at religion and relationships concentrates on the small moments, and how again “we are the stories we tell ourselves”.
Should I read it?
This novel just kept getting better as the pages turned. I am a huge Jonathan Franzen fan so keep that in mind…. This is the first novel in a planned trilogy and I will be counting the months until the next installment comes out. Lots to talk about here so book clubs will enjoy this as a selection as well.
“My question … is whether we can ever escape our selfishness,” 15-year-old Perry, the Hildebrandts’ precocious third child, muses. “Even if you bring in God, and make Him the measure of goodness, the person who worships and obeys Him still wants something for himself. He enjoys the feeling of being righteous, or he wants eternal life.”