James Lever, 7 October 2010
Jonathan Franzen has in the past been a writer who has flourished in sequences and streaks, in set-pieces and sections, the kinds of book of which you could ask: ‘What are your favourite tracks?’ The Corrections’ war of attrition between Caroline and Gary Lambert is a breathtakingly good sequence – but Gary remains the most underpowered character in the novel. This grumble doesn’t obtain here. Tonally more even, but also more subdued than The Corrections, Freedom is Franzen’s smoothest novel. It is patient, decorous, sure of itself and, in that its author sounds like himself throughout, definingly Franzenesque.