The Discomfort Zone

The Discomfort Zone

A Personal History

Book - 2006
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As Jonathan Franzen tells it, he was the kind of boy who was afraid of spiders,school dances, urinals, music teachers, boomerangs, popular girls--and his parents.He had nothing against geeky kids except a desperate fear of being taken forone of them, a fate which would result in instant Social Death. Approachingpuberty the way a fraud artist confronts a particularly tough scam, he pretended tobe a kid who naturally said "shit" and who didn't enjoy calculations on his new six functionTexas Instrument calculator.

The Discomfort Zone is Franzen'stale of growing up squirming in his own über-sensitive skin. It's a multi-layeredtour de force that daringly cascades from single moments into a domino-like discourseof sometimes truculent, sometimes piercing, always entertaining investigationand insight. Whether he's writing about the explosive dynamics of a Christianyouth fellowship in the 1970s, the effects of Kafka's fiction on his own protractedquest to lose his virginity, or the web of connections between birdwatching, hisall-consuming marriage and the problem of global warming, Franzen is always feelinglyengaged with the world we live in now. Franzen's personal history of a Midwesternyouth and New York adulthood is warmed by the same blend of comic scrutinyand affection that characterize his fiction; the result is an arresting portrait of aman, his family and his time.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins, 2006.
ISBN: 9780002008297
0002008297
Characteristics: 195 p. ;,22 cm.

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diannehildebrand
Jan 06, 2017

Fabulous writer, this autobiographical book has occasionally a bit too much detail but a good read.

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LDPBLM
Jul 08, 2011

This man can write - however , this book starts slowly - ends well. Nice effort !

o
Only_Connect
Dec 20, 2010

Surprisingly, you'll never find a better description of "birding" (bird watching) anywhere.

And of course it's always interesting to know where prominent authors are coming from. Franzen's window on US middle class teenagers in the 1970's is fascinating. He was fortunate to have really interesting adults (and friends) around him. The new awareness and probing of the complexities of our inner worlds were not just a San Franciso happening. These youth leaders in the Midwest were amazingly progressive.

t
thelma1910
Sep 03, 2010

Without doubt the most self-centered, self-indulgent, and, as a result, irrelevant book I've yet read in 70 years of reading. Jonathan Franzen sure slipped one past HarperCollins's editors. Shame on them and Mr. Franzen!

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brianvw1
Nov 23, 2010

I was introduced to the German language by a young blond woman, Elisabeth, whom no word smaller than "voluptuous" suffices to describe.

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