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Purity by Jonathan Franzen
  

Purity

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One of the year's major new literary offerings, Jonathan Franzen's PURITY doesn't disappoint, if alone by sheer weight of pages and buzzing ideas. And with a palette of suspense twists and almost thriller like plot turns, it harks back in part to his debut novel THE TWENTY-SEVENTH CITY as he again subverts the tropes of the mystery genre to make further savage dissections of our world of disfunctional families, fractured societies and the unreliability of the press and the political establishment. Pip Tyler is just an ordinary young girl, sort of lost, averagely pretty and saddled with humongous student debt. She knows her real name is Purity but is unaware who her father is, and has, as a result, a strained relationship with her mother. The questions begin to pile up when she is hired as an intern at Andreas Wolf's Sunlight Project; he is a world-famous provocateur now exiled in Bolivia. Why is he interested in her? A corruscating survey of ethics, art, environmentalism and the corrupting power of money and fame, Franzen's meticulously detailed doorstep of a novel effortlessly pulls you into its torrential wake and hammers you into submission: complex, comedic, doctoral, but always intensely readable. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

One of our Books of the Year 2015.

September 2015 Book of the Month.

Click below to watch Jonathan Franzen read from Purity as part of the Re4dings from 4th Estate Books.

If you like Jonathan Franzen you might also like to read books by Don DeLillo, Richard Powers and Jeffrey Eugenides.

Synopsis

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of FREEDOM and THE CORRECTIONS

Young Pip Tyler doesn't know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she's saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she's squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother - her only family - is hazardous. But she doesn't have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she'll ever have a normal life. Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with the Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world - including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn't understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong. Jonathan Franzen's Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has imagined a world of vividly original characters - Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers - and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. Purity is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time.

Reviews

Praise for FREEDOM:

'Deeper, funnier, sadder and truer than a work of fiction has any right to be'
Independent on Sunday

'Head and shoulders above any other book this year: moving, funny and unexpectedly beautiful. I missed it when it was over'
Sam Mendes, Observer, Books of the Year

'Franzen pulls off the extraordinary feat of making the lives of his characters more real to you than your own'
David Hare, Guardian, Books of the Year

About the Author

Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen was born in 1959 and is the author of three novels – The Twenty-Seventh City (1988), Strong Motion (1992), The Corrections (2001) – a collection of essays, How to Be Alone (2002), a memoir, The Discomfort Zone (2006) and a translation of Spring Awakening, a play by Frank Wedekind (2007). His honours include a Whiting Writers Award in 1988, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, the American Academy's Berlin Prize in 2000, and the National Book Award (for The Corrections) in 2001. He writes frequently for the New Yorker, and lives in New York City.

Author photo © Greg Martin

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 2015

Author

Jonathan Franzen

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Author's Website

www.jonathanfranzen.com/

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Publisher

Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Hardback
576 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780007532766

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