OVERRIDE

The Discomfort Zone

A Personal History

Jonathan Franzen

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year  The Discomfort Zone is Jonathan Franzen’s  tale of growing up, squirming in his own über-sensitive skin, from a “small and fundamentally ridiculous person,” into an adult with strong inconvenient passions. Whether he’s writing about the explosive dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the 1970s, the effects of Kafka’s fiction on his protracted quest to lose his virginity, or the web of connections between bird watching, his all-consuming marriage, and the problem of global warming, Franzen is always feelingly engaged with the world we live in now. The Discomfort Zone is a wise, funny, and gorgeously written self-portrait by one of America’s finest writers.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Chapter One
House for Sale
 
There’d been a storm that evening in St. Louis. Water was standing in steaming black pools on the pavement outside the airport, and from the back seat of my taxi I could see oak limbs shifting against low-hanging urban clouds. The Saturday-night roads were saturated with a feeling of afterness, of lateness—the rain wasn’t falling, it had already fallen.
 
            My mother’s house, in Webster Groves, was dark except for a lamp on a timer in the living room. Letting
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MEDIA

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  • Jonathan Franzen on KETC "Living St. Louis"

    Watch this video to hear Jonathan Franzen talk about his hometown of Webster Groves and read from his book The Discomfort Zone.

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REVIEWS

Praise for The Discomfort Zone

"Lovely, lyrical, and precise . . . What The Discomfort Zone resembles, in fact, is an old-fashioned diorama in a museum, displaying the airborne author at each stage of this evolution."--James Marcus, Los Angeles Times
 
"Funny, masterfully composed . . . For those eagerly awaiting his Corrections follow-up, this will help get you through the night."--Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly
 
"Jonathan Franzen's contribution to the genre is so expertly shaped . . . so genuinely, organically thought-provoking, that I wish I could yank it off the shelf where it will inevitably sit with the autobiographical writing of other hip authors."--Adam Begley, The New York Observer
 
"If it were possible to calculate the frequency of mots justes in a piece of prose, Franzen's ranking would be through the roof."--Lev Grossman, Time
 
"At once elegiac and unsentimental, mournful and joyful. . . . The most intimate glimpse into the author's interior life."--Dan Cryer, The Boston Globe
 
"The sub subtext of these essays--that Franzen is Franzen, a flat-out brilliant writer and wickedly incisive observer--strips away much of the self-effacement that coats the
 
surface."--Arthur Salm, The San Diego Union-Tribune
 
"A brilliantly talented writer, Franzen is more aware than most Americans of the ironies of individuality and citizenship. There are many moments here that bring together the individual and group experience of being American."--Michael Sims, BookPage
 
"With comic verve, Franzen lays out his neuroses and his gullibility to the cultural moment he inhabited. He nails the essence of adolescence itself."--Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
 
"For those who admire the razor-sharp jabs Franzen akes at himself and anyone else standing too close, The Discomfort Zone is both a delicious read and a clever showcase for Franzen's talents."--Marjorie Kehe, The Christian Science Monitor
 
"Quirky, funny, poignant, self-deprecating, and ultimately wise."--Kirkus Reviews
 
"Franzen has a talent for seamless transitions and for weaving together multiple lines of thought. . . . About as good a summary as I've read of the times we live in."--Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jonathan Franzen

  • Jonathan Franzen is the author of The Corrections, winner of the National Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/Faulkner. He is also the author of Freedom, selected for Oprah’s Book Club, The Twenty-Seventh City, Strong Motion, and How to Be Alone, all published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In 1996, he was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.
  • Jonathan Franzen Greg Martin
    Jonathan Franzen
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The Discomfort Zone

A Personal History

Jonathan Franzen

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