The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History

Wyatt Mason writes:

The Discomfort Zone is Franzen’s most clear-sighted book so far. Though his novels may hit higher pitches of emotion, none wouldn’t benefit enormously from a firmer editorial hand. A surer sense of proportion is conspicuous in The Discomfort Zone. In its not quite 200 pages, Franzen doesn’t attempt to deal with the foibles of an entire culture – that much discussed ambition of his three long novels. In place of such breadth, the memoir gives you a patient inquiry into its author’s personality over time, showing the way an absorption in self has often kept him from seeing the world fully.

(LRB 2 August 2007)

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