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Purity (Large Print / Paperback)

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Purity By Jonathan Franzen Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

If there was still any doubt that Jonathan Franzen is the best living American novelist, this book crushes it. In addition to the wide array of deeply drawn characters, unsurpassed erudition, and astounding prose that we've come to expect from him, Purity offers something else: a drum-tight, globe-spanning plot. Centered around a young woman trying to find her father and the truth of her own identity, the story takes us from Oakland to 1980's East Germany to an internet leaker's secret compound in Bolivia to a simple cabin in tiny Felton, California. Nobody pushes harder into his characters to reveal their flaws (and virtues), or more inventively and fearlessly dissects the bloated, preposterous aspects of our culture than Franzen. I laughed, I squirmed, and I gasped, but mostly I stayed up into the wee hours greedily turning pages. Is this the "big" book of the year? No. It's the literary event of the decade.

— Rico

Jonathan Franzen’s Purity is excellent. It’s addictive, worldly and at times wildly inappropriate. It deals heavily with themes of surveillance, communication, postwar communism and freedom of information. Near and far, morality clashes with unfailing human desires to create a rich and emotionally dynamic landscape. It’s definitely my favorite fiction of the year.

— Ashley


A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author ofFreedom.

Purity Tyler, known to all as Pip, is an outspoken, forthright young woman struggling to make a life for herself. She sleeps in an rickety commune in Oakland. She's in love with an unavailable older man and is saddled with staggering college debt. She has a crazy mother and doesn't know who her father is. A chance encounter leads her to an internship in South America with the world-famous Sunlight Project, the president of which is Andreas Wolf, a charismatic genius who grew up privileged but disaffected in the German Democratic Republic. Like numerous women before her, she becomes obsessed with Andreas, and they have an intense, unsettling relationship. Eventually, he finds her work back in the United States.
What lies underneath is a wild tale of hidden identities, secret wealth, neurotic fidelity, sociopathy, and murder. The truth of Pip's parentage lies at the centre of this maelstrom, but before it is resolved Franzen takes us from the rain-drenched forests of northern California, to paranoid East Berlin before the fall of the Wall, to the paradisiacal mountain valleys of Bolivia, exposing us to the vagaries of radical politics, the problematic seductions of the internet, and the no-holds-barred war between the sexes. Featuring an unforgettable cast of inimitable Franzenian characters, Purity is deeply troubling, richly moving, and hilarious.

About the Author

JONATHAN FRANZEN is the author of four novels (Freedom, The Corrections, Strong Motion, and The Twenty-Seventh City), two collections of essays (Farther Away, How to Be Alone), a personal history (The Discomfort Zone), and translations of Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening and Karl Kraus. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781432837457
ISBN-10: 1432837451
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Large Print Press
Publication Date: September 28th, 2016
Language: English