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Freedom: A Novel Audiobook, by Jonathan Franzen Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jonathan Franzen Narrator: David Ledoux Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2010 ISBN: 9781427210500
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (74,179 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a darkly comedic novel about family. Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul-the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter-environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man-she was doing her small part to build a better world. But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz-outré rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival-still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbor," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes? In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's intensely realized characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Jonathan Franzen's latest, Freedom, is a big, brilliantly evoked novel…Freedom's strongly articulated characters will draw you in, and David LeDoux's intelligent performance maintains the right narrative pace throughout. BookPage, Audio of the Month
  • The highly anticipated follow-up to the National Book Award winner The Corrections (2001) lives up to the hype with Franzen's ability to capture the twists and turns of U.S. culture and history while weaving them into the lives of flawed but fully developed characters...If you have a patron wanting one of the most heralded books of this year or decade, this is it. Library Journal
  • These CDs were over 19 hours long, but the narrator David LeDoux did an excellent job nuancing each of the characters' voices. I think this is one of the best-read single-narrator novels that I've listened to
  • Narrator David LeDoux does an excellent job with this long and many-charactered novel; he is equally adept at capturing the angst of Walter's teenage daughter as the cigarette-smoking, hard-living Richard.
  • Oprah's newest book-club pick is a natural fit for audio…Narrator Ledoux does a terrific job making this massive novel accessible to listeners. Booklist, Starred Review, Editors' Choice List 2010
  • Freedom is one of the best-read audio books of recent years, and well worth the time and emotional involvement that's needed to enjoy it. Dale M. Pollock, Winston Salem Journal

  • “[A] magisterial account. Exhaustively researched and engagingly written, this marvelous book tells an epic story. It paints on a broad canvas, yet simultaneously limns detailed and fascinating miniatures of compelling people and places. It deserves a spot on the bookshelf alongside David Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Freedom From Fear" as the definitive rendering of the World War II home front. Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • Masterful describes not only Jonathan Franzen's latest novel but also David Ledoux's reading of the book... The listener is drawn deeper into the story, experiencing every moment with the Berglunds as they try to cope with the changes in the world and in their home. FREEDOM demonstrates the power of both the written and spoken word. AudioFile, winner of an Earphones Award
  • David LeDoux’s masterly narration is powerful and well paced, comic and poignant. He expertly captures Walter and Patty—with her anxious whinny of a laugh—and their family life with its satisfactions and histrionics. LeDoux also deftly renders the gossiping of the Berglund’s disingenuous neighbors; the frenetic rants of the drug addled Eliza; and the weary, disaffected drawl of sleazy musician Richard. Publishers Weekly
  • The audio version of Freedom, read by David LeDoux, is perhaps the best read audio book I've ever heard. Eric Alterman, The Nation
  • A #1 New York Times bestseller
  • A #1 USA Today bestseller
  • A 2010 Oprah’s Book Club Selection
  • A 2011 Audie Award Finalist
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2010 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction, 2010
  • Selected for the September 2010 Indie Next List
  • An ALA Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Fiction
  • A 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for Fiction
  • Among shortlisted titles for Audie Award Finalist, 2011
  • Among longlisted titles for Booklist Editors' Choice, 2010
  • Among longlisted titles for AudioFile Best Audiobooks, 2010
  • Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2010

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daphne | 2/9/2014

    " Jonathan Franzen did it again. Great plot with lots of twists and turns. I had a hard time putting the book down. Each character had a unique voice. They were so flawed but I still found myself rooting for them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 2/8/2014

    " Pretty typical Franzen. You could finish it in a day if you really wanted. It really deserves three stars, but for someone from Minnesota, it really hits home in the early chapters, bumping it up to four. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dimitrios | 2/2/2014

    " Could not put down this book...a sweeping tale of an American family with extremely well developed characters and a very good presentation of the notion of freedom and all its nuances.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 1/27/2014

    " Wasn't sure it would live up to the hype but after a bit of a slow start it took off. A fantastic read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsey | 1/21/2014

    " Loved the overlapping perspectives and general tone of the writing. Very good picture of a 21st family caught in the 'snare of preparation.' "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kyle | 1/15/2014

    " The style of writing was interesting if a bit tedious. The way it would be in one characters point of view for a hundred or so pages and then switch to another character was interesting. However, there were times when I wanted that switch to come quicker and yet the chapter just kept dragging by. The author did a good job of getting me interested into one of the characters story and into what was happening to them, only to then switch everything around and start talking about distant family issues. I found it to be frustrating, but it did add background to why the characters ended up the way they were. The book did a great job at showing how everything fell apart, how the characters felt during it, and the reasons for allowing it to fall apart. I enjoyed the book, but would probably only recommend it to someone with time to invest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 12/30/2013

    " One of the best books I've read this summer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sara | 12/27/2013

    " Too long; poorly written when from the female perspective. In fact, very little distinction between character voices as the chapters move from one perspective to another. Also, zero dignity around sexual relationships - so little as to make them much less believable. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ashley | 12/9/2013

    " This book reminded me of the marriage plot (not a compliment). But instead of angsty teenagers, it deals with infantile middle aged adults. Who could feel any amount if pity for them or care how they repeatedly make themselves unhappy? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leigh | 11/30/2013

    " Really enjoyed this book. A great look into the lives of average Americans and the trivial problems that consume their lives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 3/13/2013

    " This was just a good, ol' fashioned great read, and got me through the last dregs of a Boston winter. I won't belabor the point because Franzen gets so much ink without my help, but the guy can create some fully realized characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennak | 2/9/2013

    " I think Jonathan Franzen did an excellent job of capturing the good and bad of people. Making each character very complex and complicated. What frustrated me about this book is that it seems like the characters in the book are creating all of their own issues. I want them to have more maturity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenn | 1/15/2013

    " The writing was very good and at times the story was gripping. But even with the uplifting ending it made me a bit sad that this is described as a portrait of our time. The characters were vivid but sad and unrelatable. And the plot wasn't strong enough to make me love the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig | 8/29/2012

    " First Franzen I've read. Stunning. Kind of a happy American Pastoral. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 6/19/2012

    " I found the main characters Patty and Walter Berglund to be very sympathetic. The author captures the sensibility of middle class, college educated white liberals who came of age in the early 80s, who are facing the disappointments of middle age. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mari | 8/23/2011

    " Poor rich white folks. None of these characters are worth giving a hoot about. Also, please stop bringing up bright eyes and wilco in your modern novel. We get it. Very modern. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alaine | 7/17/2011

    " contemporary humorous, deep character study "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caro | 5/22/2011

    " Very readable, but tediously long. This is the first Franzen I've read, and I'm not inclined to continue. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 5/21/2011

    " Interesting post modern take on the American Dream. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cynthia | 5/21/2011

    " I was looking forward to reading this book, with all the hype about it. I sure did not love it as much as Oprah. For me, it was boring and long. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lee | 5/21/2011

    " I loved THE CORRECTIONS, but I don't understand what all the hoopla over this book. I read a 100 pages and just couldn't fight the boredom any more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Polly | 5/21/2011

    " Why: I was going to download this from the library onto my new Nook and after multiple aggravating attempts I realized I was downloading an audio version. So I bought it, which of course I should have just done in the 1st place.
    Review: No complaints "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 5/21/2011

    " At times the book gets a little preachy, but otherwise I liked it. The different voices/styles that it shifts to keep things fresh and interesting, and in general it's just undeniably well-written (having read some real crap lately, this was a most welcome thing). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 5/20/2011

    " Enjoyed this for the most part, but my BookClub bailed on it halfway through. Patty was too much for them. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tony | 5/19/2011

    " hated this book, only read 3 chapters. UGH. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 5/18/2011

    " Very long read, great characters. I liked the book overall, but found myself not eager to pick it back up and remember where I had left off - it was so layered. Interesting characters though. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pkrey12 | 5/18/2011

    " Ugh....forcing myself to finish after having it for months - cannot relate to a single character in the book!

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tina | 5/18/2011

    " The characters were interesting. But the writing style was killing me! Too much unimportant information. List and list of reasons why the character felt a certain way. Okay I got in on the first two. The book put me in a bad mood. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy | 5/17/2011

    " Finally finished!! I thought this book was ok.

About the Author

Jonathan Franzen was previously known for his influential Harper’s essay, “Perchance to Dream.” He is now the author of several novels and multiple works of nonfiction, all receiving industry recognition. He splits his time between New York and Santa Cruz, California.

About the Narrator

David Ledoux has narrated a wide range of audio books, for which he was won and been nominated for several Audie and Earphones awards. He was named a 2010 Best Voice by AudioFile magazine for his narration of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, and he also narrated Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants and Douglas Copeland’s Nostradamus, among many others.