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Purity by Jonathan Franzen


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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.

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 Richard Powers, Don DeLillo and Jeffrey Eugenides.


Purity by Jonathan Franzen

The Sunday Times bestseller from the author of Freedom and The Corrections Pip Tyler doesn't know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she's saddled with student debt and a reclusive mother, but there are few clues as to who her father is or how she'll ever have a normal life. Then she meets Andreas Wolf - internet outlaw, charismatic provocateur, a man who deals in secrets and might just be able to help her solve the mystery of her origins.



'Furiously funny'

'Superbly readable, it is the work of a novelist at the height of his powers ... This new work by an American master of realism has novelistic pleasures in abundance'
Sunday Times

'Purity makes the most compelling reading, and Franzen reveals himself here to be even more a master than ever'
Evening Standard

'It has kept me up every night for a week, and now that I'm done, I'll miss its wit, its messed-up characters and its emotional complexity'
Financial Times

'Franzen's most fleet-footed, least self-conscious and most intimate novel yet ... Franzen has added a new octave to his voice'
New York Times

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

2nd August 2016


Jonathan Franzen

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


576 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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