Purity by Jonathan Franzen
Franzen constructs characters more real than any others I’ve read. Purity is no exception, but this book is different in other ways. It’s of broader scope, and perhaps more ambitious, as Franzen goes outside America in parts, delving into socialist East Germany.
The Internet’s totalitarian quality (we can’t escape it) is a major theme, as explored by Andreas Wolf, the Julian Assange-like “do-gooder.” Longing for purity but continuously confronted by moral ambiguity, these characters go through a hell of a lot of muddiness. Anabel and Tom’s section was my favourite, Franzen adept at illustrating the toxicity of doomed relationships.
Franzen’s best assets–complex characters, contemporary themes, and clever CLEVER writing–are all present here, but this novel wasn’t as tight as his earlier work.