[H]e describes the judgmental outlook that he and his wife shared for many years: “Deploring other people — their lack of perfection — had always been our sport.”Kakutani can't figure out why anyone would want to consume what the author himself acknowledges to be poison. Maybe you prefer the nature of the novelist to be processed into a work of fiction. You prefer poison cooked up into something more delectable, like "The Corrections." I prefer to see that the poison is poison.
... Mr. Franzen writes that he and his wife “lived on our own little planet,” spending “superhuman amounts of time by ourselves.” He fills his journals with transcripts of fights they’ve had, and writes that they both “reacted to minor fights at breakfast by lying facedown on the floor of our respective rooms for hours at a time, waiting for acknowledgment of our pain.” “I wrote poisonous jeremiads to family members who I felt had slighted my wife,” he adds, while “she presented me with handwritten fifteen-and twenty page analyses of our condition; I was putting away a bottle of Maalox every week.”
August 29, 2006
Michiko Kakutani reviews Jonathan Franzen's new memoir -- "The Discomfort Zone" -- and seems rather horrified to gaze upon the character that is the novelist. Me, I'm extremely fascinated, especially by what most upsets Kakutani, his "doomed marriage":