Episode 7: Crossroads (Part 1)

In this episode, Erin, Alex, and Eric are joined by critic Merve Emre and poet Elisa Gabbert to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s sixth novel, Crossroads. The first in a planned trilogy titled The Key to All Mythologies, it represents perhaps Franzen’s most dramatic left-turn yet. After the frenzied mess of Purity, here is a tightly controlled novel focused intently on one midwestern family over (mostly) four months in late-1971 and early-1972. But is it too controlled? Is this Franzen’s least funny book yet? How effective is Franzen’s exploration of American Christianity? And, perhaps most importantly, what’s the deal with Judson?

About Mr. Difficult

How did Jonathan Franzen become America’s most divisive novelist? Is he even good? And what’s the deal with his relationship with birds, anyway? Mr. Difficult is a podcast devoted to exploring these and many other questions related to this great American novelist. (Or is it the great American novelist?) Join co-hosts Erin Somers and Alex Shephard and producer Eric Jett as they discuss each of Franzen’s six novels, as well as his nonfiction.