MILLENNIUM PEOPLE by J. G. Ballard is an important existential novel, not as some suggest about the corrosive effects of technology, but rather about the vacuity of middle class life. As the middle class comes to realize that all the things for which they have yearned are meaningless traps, they become consumed by a fear of nothingness. In response they seek authenticity. They find authentic feelings from violence and protest, the more meaningless and random the better.
It’s been years since a novel’s impact was so colossal that I was unable to pick up and focus on another novel one, two, four–even twenty-four hours after closing the book. The force of Franzen’s characters, particularly Patty Berglund, pierced me with such legion intensity that I am temporarily ruined for the next book. I apologize for the lack of restraint in my accolades–that which is diametrically opposed to Franzen’s utterly fluid and immaculate prose, his graceful, poised restraint.
…But hereâ€™s the catch: Jonathan Franzenâ€™s FREEDOM is worth every accolade and every bit of heaping praise it garners. In one word, the novel is spectacular.