Jonathan Franzen

A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of FREEDOM and THE CORRECTIONS

Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother – her only family – is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life.

Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with the Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world – including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn’t understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong.

Jonathan Franzen’s Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has imagined a world of vividly original characters – Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers – and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. Purity is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time.

Reviews of Purity

    • ‘Superbly readable, it is the work of a novelist at the height of his powers … The skills that have justly placed Franzen in the top rank of American writers are abundantly evident … This new work by an American master of realism has novelistic pleasures in abundance: characters one believes in and cares about, situations drenched in atmosphere and detail, and, above all, a propulsive current of storytelling verve’ Sunday Times
    • ‘Purity is just as good as Freedom, if not better by virtue of its greater ambition’ Independent
    • ‘This novel contains multitudes: love, murder, marital terrorism, embarrassing sex, nasty sex, solo sex, the Stasi, internet leaks, missing nuclear weapons, missing fathers, overbearing mothers and a variety of interesting bowel disorders. What you won’t find much of is purity’ Sunday Telegraph
    • ‘Franzen in an exceptional writer, more skilled than most at producing brutal insights, perfectly evocative turns of phrase, and genuine hilarity … rich scenes and crackling dialogue … delicious observations about contemporary life’ Guardian
    • ‘Franzen writes conversational, enormously intelligent prose that wears its subtlety and precision lightly … there’s something thrilling about Franzen’s frenzied but at the sametime self-mocking and capacious seriousness’ Independent
    • ‘An ingeniously-plotted, intricately-structured narrative that demands that attention is paid … gripping, often funny and packed with wonderful characters’ Prospect
    • ‘Franzen is that rare bird: a literary novelist of the highest distinction who has also become one of the bestsellers of the age … Purity makes the most compelling reading, and Franzen reveals himself here to be even more a master than ever’ David Sexton, Evening Standard
    • ‘Wonderful’ Daily Mail
    • ‘Compelling’ The Times
    • ‘Very readable’ Good Housekeeping

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