A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author ofFreedom. Purity Tyler, known to all as Pip, is an outspoken, forthright young woman struggling to make a life for herself. She sleeps in an rickety commune in Oakland. Shes in love with an unavailable older man and is saddled with ...
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A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author ofFreedom. Purity Tyler, known to all as Pip, is an outspoken, forthright young woman struggling to make a life for herself. She sleeps in an rickety commune in Oakland. Shes in love with an unavailable older man and is saddled with staggering college debt. She has a crazy mother and doesnt know who her father is. A chance encounter leads her to an internship in South America with the world-famous Sunlight Project, the president of which is Andreas Wolf, a charismatic genius who grew up privileged but disaffected in the German Democratic Republic. Like numerous women before her, she becomes obsessed with Andreas, and they have an intense, unsettling relationship. Eventually, he finds her work back in the United States. What lies underneath is a wild tale of hidden identities, secret wealth, neurotic fidelity, sociopathy, and murder. The truth of Pips parentage lies at the centre of this maelstrom, but before it is resolved Franzen takes us from the rain-drenched forests of northern California, to paranoid East Berlin before the fall of the Wall, to the paradisiacal mountain valleys of Bolivia, exposing us to the vagaries of radical politics, the problematic seductions of the internet, and the no-holds-barred war between the sexes. Featuring an unforgettable cast of inimitable Franzenian characters, Purity is deeply troubling, richly moving, and hilarious.from via
An Amazon Best Book of September 2015: Purity takes many forms in Franzens new novelto begin with, it is the name of the books title character. Pip, as she is more commonly known, is not fond of her given name, and when we first meet her she is living in a crowded Oakland house under the burden of colossal college debt. Pip soon becomes involved in The Sunlight Project, a WikiLeaks-style group that seeks to uncover secrets and expose them on the web. Run by Andreas Wolf, a charismatic man of renown, who grew up in socialist East Germany, the Sunlight Project becomes the jumping-off point of discovery for Pip, as well as a starting line for Franzen to jump back in time and explore the backgrounds of his primary and secondary characters. There is a point in the book where readers may wonder where this is all headed; but the thoughtfulness and polish of Franzens prose should reassure that the journey isnt in vain. It eventually becomes clear that nearly every character is chasing purity in some formwhether pursuing Pip herself or some platonic idealand Franzen ties up the ends in a way that is clean and satisfying but will have you thinking about Purity long after you have finished the book. --Chris Schluep