When I saw the book at the book store I knew I would like it. The Corrections was published in 2004 and it is one of the best American novels from the last decade. It was the winner of the National Book Award, the James Tait Memorial, and finalist of the Pulitzer and the Pen/Faulkner award. This book made Jonathan Franzen a popular writer, but he was known before because he wrote a very powerful essay in 2002 about the end of the social novel. I think this book is the best novel written in America in the last decade, about the contemporary society; even though the writer thought he was writing a family saga. Kafka, Thomas Pynchon, Dickens and Tolstoy converge in this book. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The Corrections presents us a complex and deep point of view about the processes from the end of the last Century that defines us as a society.
But what the correction is about? It’s about American history, economy and neurobiology, which are some of the main topics covered by the book, but the writer also includes medicine and drugs, emotional disorders and family issues, as the most important topics in the novel. Frazen uses the third person to build an outstanding portrait of the contemporary society, but in a simple way so everyone can read and enjoy it. Following the misadventures of the Lambert family, the reader will discover the lights and shadows on the American society, which has a common basis: family.
Enid Lambert is trying to get her family together for Christmas. She has two sons and a daughter: the older one, Gary, who is a bank executive and according to him, he is a role model father and also a good husband. Maybe he is wrong; at least he is going to try to be a better father than his own, but the circumstances will change his expectations. Chip, the middle one, has just failed in the academic world, and that’s the reason why he will try to start a business in a small country. However, it isn’t as legal as the reader could think. Denise, the youngest one, is a competitive person, and excellent chef, on a stunning new fancy restaurant, but she suffers because of her unstable love life. Enid’s husband, Alfred Lambert, is fighting against Parkinson’s disease. But can Enid’s sons and daughter correct their parent’s mistake? Will Enid have her Christmas family dinner? All this questions could be answered by reading the book.
But if the reader wants to read this book as a family saga, he/she will discover it is much more than that. In the book, Franzen shows a typical middle class family with all of their dilemmas and troubles about life using strong characters as the story itself.