Here’s a perspective on Jonathan Franzen that seems fresh to me.
Like everyone else, I have been eagerly awaiting Jonathan Franzen’s new novel. “Freedom” has been nine years in the making. Franzen just gave his first reading in New York City; he appeared on public radio, and his photograph made the cover of Time magazine with the caption “Great American Novelist.” Sam Tanenhaus in his New York Times review calls the book a masterpiece. He compares Franzen to Thomas Mann. Chick-lit author Jennifer Weiner, irritated by this ample publicity and the lack of such for many talented female writers, complained to her 15,000 twitter followers and termed the literary hashtag Franzenfreude.
Was she driven by what Germans call Futterneid (envy)?
And see this from Pankaj Mishra in the UK Guardian Books which seems more superficial and conventional in its thinking.
A strange hysteria, originating in New York, swept across America last month. I am not referring to the anti-Muslim campaign led by extreme rightwingers and abetted by an unprincipled media. No: this particular mania was marked by loudly competing eulogies rather than cacophonous malignity. The “hallowed ground” was American literature, and the monument quickly raised on it by broad and vigorous consensus was to Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Freedom.