Episode 5: Freedom

In this episode, Erin, Alex, and Eric are joined by novelist Jacob Bacharach to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s fourth novel, Freedom. Perhaps Franzen’s angriest book, it is in some ways a step forward—particularly with regards to the character of Patty—and in other ways a step back toward his messier and more self-indulgent earlier work. We discuss what works and (mostly) what doesn’t in Franzen’s most Franzen-y book.

Outro music: “Insanely Happy” by the Traumatics.

The Traumatics

Walnut Surprise

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.