After one of the most divisive and contentious campaigns in the country’s history, today America goes to the polls to elect the next leader of the free world. The rest of us watch and wait with bated breath. After a year of political turmoil around the world, nobody can predict the result of today’s vote. So on the day of the most nail-biting political event of the year, distract yourself with our 4 by 4th list of essential reading (in no particular order) for exploring the real issues facing the most powerful nation on earth, and understanding the enigma that is the United States
Today is Friday, the day of the usual Food From 4th post, plus, we’re getting ready for Christmas. How better to combine the two than to bring you a 4x4th Estate on Festive Feasts? Christmas can be an event, in literature, where the times that are supposed to be good, go ever so slightly bad. Read more…
It is a rare thing to be able to watch literary history unfold before your eyes. We can only wonder what it would have been like, with the benefit of hindsight, to be present for the worlds reaction to writers such as Charlotte Bronte and James Joyce, to see them being ignored or even damned. There are certain moments in literature that, without exaggeration, define the future of the medium as a whole, and Jonathan Franzen’s 2001 publication of The Corrections exists as a catalyst for such a moment. Read more…
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 has always concealed her own real name, or how she can 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 organisation 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.
Purity is a dark-hued comedy of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has created yet another cast 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. Jonathan Franzen is a major author of our time, and Purity is his edgiest and most searching book yet.
Publishing 1st September 2015.
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Families are weird. We pretend to others that we’re normal, but we secretly wear our family ‘weird’ as a badge of honour. You know you wouldn’t really want to trade up Mum’s creepy porcelain doll collection, Dad’s irrational fear of Morris dancers, or your brother’s love of ketchup and banana sandwiches for anything. Here are a few families of fiction that are perhaps even more bizarre than our own. Read more…
It was being reported on a number of celebrity and TV blogs that the stars would be joining Diane Wiest and Ewan McGreggor in the HBO adaptation of Franzen’s 2001 novel.
Gyllenhaal – star of ‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Dark Knight’ has been linked to the role of the Lambert’s daughter, Denise, while Notting Hill star Ifans has been attached to the role of the Lithuanian gangster who briefly employs Chip.