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Download How to Be Alone: Essays Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample How to Be Alone: Essays (Unabridged), by Jonathan Franzen
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,190 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Franzen Narrator: Jonathan Franzen, Brian d'Arcy James Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Passionate, strong-minded nonfiction from the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections.

Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections was the best-loved and most-written-about novel of 2001. Nearly every in-depth review of it discussed what became known as The Harper's Essay, Franzen's controversial 1996 investigation of the fate of the American novel. This essay is available in audio for the first time in How to be Alone, along with the personal essays and the dead-on reportage that earned Franzen a wide readership before the success of The Corrections.

Although his subjects range from the sex-advice industry to the way a supermax prison works, each piece wrestles with familiar themes of Franzen's writing: the erosion of civic life and private dignity and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern, imperial America. Recent pieces include a moving essay on his father's stuggle with Alzheimer's disease (which has already been reprinted around the world) and a rueful account of Franzen's brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author.

As a collection, these essays record what Franzen calls a movement away from an angry and frightened isolation toward an acceptance - even a celebration - of being a reader and a writer. At the same time they show the wry distrust of the claims of technology and psychology, the love-hate relationship with consumerism, and the subversive belief in the tragic shape of the individual life that help make Franzen one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alanmartinson | 2/8/2014

    " This collection of essays contains a heavy dose of the introspection that makes Franzen such a tremendous writer. More than any other writer I know of today, Franzen captures the tension between modern life and the virtuous life, particularly the tension between the simple utility-maximizing nature of technological advancements and the more effort-requiring joys of reading, thinking, and getting along with each other (or choosing to go it alone). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Helen | 2/5/2014

    " A nice collection of essays that kept me company during a semester in Moscow "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Christopher Jones | 2/1/2014

    " A compilation of essays by Jonathon Franzen on being both a writer and reader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jeanne Julian | 1/31/2014

    " Confirmed my faith in Franzen. Love the way he launches from personal observations to reflections on the global and human condition. Despairing yet wry. Self-possessed but never self-indulgent. "

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