Books in the Media: Franzen's Crossroads heralded as his best yet

Books in the Media: Franzen's Crossroads heralded as his best yet

This week, Jonathan Franzen's Crossroads (Fourth Estate) picked up mentions in the Observer, the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, and was a One to Watch for The Bookseller's Alice O'Keeffe. 

Crossroads is Franzen's sixth novel and the first in the A Key to All Mythologies trilogy, which will follow the lives of three generations of a Midwest family as they "navigate the political and social crosscurrents of the past 50 years". Alongside it's Bookseller pick, the title was selected as an Observer Book of the Week by critic Tim Adams, who called it a "testament to Franzen’s authorial habits of empathy, his curiosity about the lives of others, his efforts in a land of cliché to add twists to easy assumptions".

Over in the Telegraph, James Walton gave Franzen's latest a five star review, claiming the novel was his best yet: "Here, he goes back to family-anatomising basics and the result is possibly his richest and most satisfying (or, if you prefer, best) novel so far." 

The Sunday Times' Claire Lowdon gave the title a mixed review: "I’m seduced by the granular characterisation but repelled by much of the prose... At the end I felt as you do about a slightly disappointing Netflix series. Yes, it’s a time-drain, but I know the characters now, so I might as well watch series two and three."

Finally, in the Daily Mail, Stephanie Cross agreed with Lowdon, noting that Franzen's "talents as a comic storyteller are such that his capacious tales are a treat to get lost in. This one is no exception", but by the end, her interest in character Russ Hildebrandt was "largely exhausted". 

In non-fiction, Lucy Burns' memoir Larger Than an Orange (Chatto) impressed critics and was given a four star review by the Telegraph's Lucy Scholes who heralded it as a "pro-choice memoir about the messy reality of abortion" which "cleverly captures the weight of the convergence of choice and responsibility in an imperfect, unfair world".

In the Sunday Times, Laura Hackett was also impressed, dubbing the memoir a "visceral account of an abortion" that is "praiseworthy not only for the conversations it will spark, but for its beautiful prose, emotional intensity and unabashed complexity".