The book started very promising with My father's brain
which I thought was great and got me excitedly adding more Franzen stuff to my Goodreads pile.
After that... meh. I should probably attempt to write my review as flawless as Franzen (well, I'm not going to succeed in that) just to weigh up to some of his intellectual heavyweight essays, but yeah. In Mr. Difficult
Franzen is actually ahead of the critics and tackles the subject of the 'difficult book'. It may come as a relief to many of us that even for Franzen, there's books that can't be finished.
In Status terms, I'd simply failed as a reader. But I did have Contract on my side. I'd given the book weeks of evening reading, it still wasn't working for me, and now I was eager to read shorter, warmer books by [other writers]. I'd wanted to grab Gaddis by the lapels and shout: "Hello! I'm the reader you want! (...) If you can't even show me a good time, who else do you think is going to read you?"
I also enjoyed Erika Imports
, Meet me in St. Louis
and even Why bother?
, but the rest not so much. It can't be denied he has a way with words - we can only keep our fingers crossed for more Contract stuff.