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William Gaddis
BOOK REVIEW: 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen
BOOK REVIEW: 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen begins his fourth novel, "Freedom," with an extended set piece introducing Walter and Patty Berglund, urban homesteaders who, back in the 1980s, moved to the crumbling core of St. Paul, Minn., and became "the young pioneers of Ramsey Hill." It's an interesting choice since, as Franzen makes clear from the book's first sentence, the Berglunds have abandoned the Twin Cities for Washington, D.C., and "mean nothing to St. Paul now." Still, their memory, or their influence, lingers like an afterimage: the perfect couple that somehow wasn't, whose love was shattered by some ineradicable taint. As the chapter unfurls, Franzen draws in...

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