The end of the end of the earth : essays

by Franzen, Jonathan,

Format: Print Book 2018.
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A sharp and provocative new essay collection from the award-winning author of Freedom and The Corrections

The essayist, Jonathan Franzen writes, is like "a fire-fighter, whose job, while everyone else is fleeing the flames of shame, is to run straight into them." For the past twenty-five years, even as his novels have earned him worldwide acclaim, Franzen has led a second life as a risk-taking essayist. Now, at a moment when technology has inflamed tribal hatreds and the planet is beset by unnatural calami- ties, he is back with a new collection of essays that recall us to more humane ways of being in the world.

Franzen's great loves are literature and birds, and The End of the End of the Earth is a passionate argument for both. Where the new media tend to confirm one's prejudices, he writes, literature "invites you to ask whether you might be somewhat wrong, maybe even entirely wrong, and to imagine why someone else might hate you." Whatever his subject, Franzen's essays are always skeptical of received opinion, steeped in irony, and frank about his own failings. He's frank about birds, too (they kill "everything imaginable"), but his reporting and reflections on them--on seabirds in New Zealand, warblers in East Africa, penguins in Antarctica--are both a moving celebration of their beauty and resilience and a call to action to save what we love.

Calm, poignant, carefully argued, full of wit, The End of the End of the Earth provides a welcome
breath of hope and reason.

The essay in dark times
Manhattan 1981
Why birds matter
Save what you love
Capitalism in hyperdrive
May your life be ruined
A friendship
A rooting interest
Ten rules for the novelist
The regulars
Invisible losses
Postcards from East Africa
The end of the end of the Earth.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Franzen (Purity , 2015) begins his fourth collection of personal essays with praise for how the form invites honest self-examination and sustained engagement with ideas, qualities he masterfully demonstrates in 16 thought-provoking narratives in which he flies against the prevailing winds of common assumptions and expectations. A birder, Franzen travels the world to add to his life list, a mission that enmeshes him in environmental conundrums as he celebrates the wondrous variety and beauty of avian species and seeks to understand the myriad threats against them. Franzen recounts journeys to Peru, Ghana, Egypt, Albania, and the Caribbean, and profiles the people he meets who are trying to protect birds and their habitats by thinking and acting locally, an infinitely more productive approach, he argues, than idealistic attempts to address climate change. Franzen displays his literary-criticism chops in an intriguing reconsideration of Edith Wharton, while in the intricately affecting title essay he candidly reports on a voyage to Antarctica and shares a bit of family history. Another essay title neatly states Franzen's reverberating core theme: Save What You Love. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "A compulsive need to find order, and a love of birding, represent two of the central threads of this stimulating collection of previously published essays from novelist Franzen (Purity). In the opening essay, "The Essay in Dark Times," Franzen self-identifies as "what people in the world of birding call a lister," which makes him "morally inferior to birders who bird exclusively for the joy of it." Throughout the essays that follow, Franzen muses about writing, Edith Wharton, climate change, Antarctica, the photographs of Sarah Stolfa, and birds, always birds. Some of his opinions have already stoked controversy: In "A Rooting Interest," he comments on Wharton's privileged position amid New York City's social elite, and observes she had "one potentially redeeming disadvantage: she wasn't pretty." In "Save What You Love," he takes the Audubon Society to task for naming climate change as the greatest threat to birds, when "no individual bird death can be definitively attributed" to it, while statistics indicate that picture windows and outdoor cats kill three billion birds annually. Whether observing the eerie beauty of Antarctica ("far from having melted," he reports) or dispensing "Ten Rules for the Novelist," Franzen makes for an entertaining, sometimes prickly, but always quotable companion. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Essays.
Publisher New York :2018.
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Essays.
Language English
Description 230 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780374147938
Other Classic View