Confession: I skipped the ones about birds, because I'd already tried to read them in the New Yorker and given up. The man is really into birds.
Holla: He loves Alice Munro, as do I, and you can read that essay here. Thank you for saying better than I ever could, Mr. Franzen:
Reading Munro puts me in that state of quiet reflection in which I think about my own life: about the decisions I've made, the things I've done and haven't done, the kind of person I am, the prospect of death. She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion. For as long as I'm immersed in a Munro story, I am according to an entirely make-believe character the kind of solemn respect and quiet rooting interest that I accord myself in my better moments as a human being.
But suspense and purity, which are a gift to the reader, present problems for the reviewer. Basically, ''Runaway'' is so good that I don't want to talk about it here. Quotation can't do the book justice, and neither can synopsis. The way to do it justice is to read it.
Another Confession: Maybe I like his essays more than his fiction? Which is so long. (p.s. The Corrections, narrated by Dylan Baker, is a great, stay-in-your-car-in-the-driveway audiobook)
Funny: Spying it out of the corner of his eye, Luke read the title as Fart Her Away. Entirely different book.
Time to Tackle: My signed copy of Freedom. (Getting my book signed after the reading, I told him: St Louis is very proud of you!)