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Joshua Cohen writes:
What’s the German for a writer who resurrects a writer who would have hated him? Until a word is coined, I’m going to go with ‘Franzen’ – after the most famous American novelist of the moment, whose commercial and critical success has brought him, if his public statements are any indication, nothing but misery. His new book, The Kraus Project, returns him to the early 1980s, before he wrote The Corrections and Freedom – two internationally bestselling epics of middle-class white America struggling with marriage, parenthood, illness and climate change – and his two earlier, somewhat disavowed systems novels. Thirty years ago he was just a Swarthmore student abroad in what was still West Berlin, exploring his vices and discovering, and tentatively translating, the great Viennese ‘anti-journalist’ Karl Kraus.