Recently I became what almost felt like the last person in the English-speaking world to read Jonathan Franzen's latest novel Freedom originally published last summer and now out in paperback. This terrifically ambitious saga stretches forwards and backwards from the central, fraught relationship of Walter Berglund and Patty Emerson, a liberal couple who first meet at college in the late 1970s. From this starting point, Franzen manages to create a colossal picture of 21st-century America: its history, its popular art, its corporate culture, its homeland insecurity and its endangered natural world.
Now, there can hardly be anything left to say about Jonathan Franzen and his place in literary history. But I think it might be possible to note the way he could be changing the course of film history.