Tim Parks Update

America for the Americans?

About a month ago, Tim Parks wrote a piece for Italian business paper il Sole 24 Ore about Jonathan Franzen’s popularity in Europe. He referred to the piece in a talk that he gave to Milan’s Stampa Estera.  That piece is now out in English via the New York Review of Books and interested readers may want to have a look.

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2 Responses to Tim Parks Update

  1. Shant says:

    Thanks for sharing the link. I can’t say I really keep up with “the global literary scene,” but Parks’ remarks mostly ring true to me. I wonder if Schadenfreude is the real underlying reason for Franzen’s popularity here, though. Young Germans seem obsessed with American culture, and I’ve never picked up an iota of irony in their appreciation. Maybe their parents like Franzen’s smug take on the U.S., but I’d guess the main reason for his popularity is the vicarious thrill his novels provide…

  2. HNB says:

    Well, to be fair, although I found Parks’ comments interesting, ultimately I thought his argument fell short, smacking of sour grapes. (There’s a separate thread here on this subject.) After ignoring the hype surrounding the Corrections for the better part of a decade, I bowed a few years ago and gobbled up Strong Motion right after, and Freedom most recently. He’s a powerful and relevant writer with wide-ranging interests. This is to say: I’m a fan. Maybe there’s a reason young Italian and Germans like him: he speaks to them. Isn’t that part of the universal promise of literature?

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