Episode 6: Purity

In this episode, Erin, Alex, and Eric are joined by novelist Rumaan Alam to discuss Jonathan Franzen’s fifth novel, Purity. Everyone agrees that this book is an insane mess, but this episode dares to ask: Is it also a good book? And—even bolder—does he actually get the internet right? Also discussed: the book’s weird politics, Andreas Wolf’s connections to Julian Assange and Jeffrey Epstein, and whether this is Jonathan Franzen’s study abroad novel.

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.