Episode 8: Crossroads (Part 2)

We're joined by New York Times national correspondent Ruth Graham to discuss Franzen's depiction of faith and Christianity in Crossroads.

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  • Episode 8: Crossroads (Part 2)

    We're joined by New York Times national correspondent Ruth Graham to discuss Franzen's depiction of faith and Christianity in Crossroads.

  • 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.

  • Episode 6: Purity

    Everyone agrees that Purity is an insane mess. But what if it’s also good? Novelist Rumaan Alam joins Erin, Alex, and Eric to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s fifth novel.

  • Episode 5: Freedom

    We're joined by novelist Jacob Bacharach to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s fourth and most Franzen-y novel, Freedom.

  • Episode 4: The Corrections Pilot

    We're joined by Variety TV Critic Daniel D'Addario to discuss the unaired pilot for Noah Baumbach and Jonathan Franzen's adaptation of The Corrections.

  • Episode 3: The Corrections

    Erin, Alex, and Eric are joined by the novelist Emily Gould to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s third novel, The Corrections.

  • Episode 2: Strong Motion

    Erin, Alex, and Eric are joined by Matt Zeitlin and Mark Krotov to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s second novel—and Mr. Difficult-consensus worst book—Strong Motion.

  • Episode 1: The Twenty-Seventh City

    In this episode, Erin, Alex, and Eric discuss what works (and mostly what doesn’t) about The Twenty-Seventh City, the book’s cringey racial and sexual politics, and whether or not its central plot is something out of Tucker Carlson’s fevered imagination.

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.