Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So Everybody Else Can Just Hang it Up for the Next 79 Years

Caught this review headline at the online edition of The Guardian:

Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom: the novel of the century

From the review itself, and other buzz, it sounds like Freedom will indeed be something to read.

But “novel of the century”?

Aren’t we still a bit early in the century for anyone to be pronouncing anything as the (fill in the blank) of the century? Not wanting to get into any heavy discussion of when a century actually begins and ends (but, for the record, the current century began January 1, 2001), is it not safe to say that we have something in the neighborhood of, I dunno, three-quarters of it left to go?

And if the “novel of the century” has already been written, well, crap, what are the rest of us supposed to do? Are there any runner-up positions? Is there a literary equivalent of Miss Congeniality? Is there a bronze medal? Pewter? Shiny plastic?

Perhaps I might content myself with writing the novel of the week. Top of the bestseller list among my family and friends. (Reynolds’s Maxim: You find out who your real friends are when they’re called upon to shell out twenty-five bucks for your latest book.)

1 comment:

jksweeney said...

In a New York minute my old, in a NY minute. You write it, I'll buy it.