x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Farther Away is a delightful interlude in Jonathan Franzen's career

A collection of nonfiction essays from one of America's greatest living writers is a poignant holdover until his next novel.

Jonathan Franzen’s many fans are generally very patient beings, and with good reason. The author regularly attracts both hyperbolic and largely justified billing as one of America’s greatest living writers, but he will not be rushed.

Twenty-four years after the release of his debut fiction (The Twenty-Seventh City), Franzen released novel number four in 2010 (Freedom) fully nine years after making it big with The Corrections, which in turn was almost a decade in the making following the release of Strong Motion in 1992. At that rate, one shouldn’t expect his fifth novel much before the end of this decade. Good things come to those who wait.

And Farther Away, Franzen’s latest non-fiction filler while the world waits for his next novel, is a very good thing. A collection of essays and addresses (his first since How to Be Alone), one quickly succumbs to the story of his epic South Pacific adventure and his delightful, insightful literary criticism. Better still, the publication of Farther Away means we’re moving ever closer to Franzen’s next fiction.