Anti-Oprah Author Comes Crawling Back

April Peveteaux

oprah jonathan franzenOprah Winfrey has this book club -- have you heard about it? You know, the one every author dreams of being chosen for, since the big O seal of approval automatically turns writers into bestsellers and helps them to buy a dream home.

It's a pretty sweet deal, but Jonathan Franzen found it distasteful in 2001 when his (amazing, gripping, life-altering) novel The Corrections was chosen for the club. In fact, Franzen decided to trash talk Oprah's club around town, insulting its members by saying his book was too difficult for them, and acting as if it was belittling his work to be included with other "lightweight" tomes.

Oprah kicked The Corrections to the curb. Because Oprah doesn't play that way.

But it seems Franzen is back in the lady's good graces. Why? How? What's the point?

Oprah just announced that Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Freedom, will be her next book club selection. Clearly she got over her tiff with the author, but did Franzen change his mind about the association too?

I'm a huge fan of Franzen's The Corrections and cannot wait to get my eyes on Freedom. I also love me some Oprah, but I don't understand why Franzen came crawling back.

Reviewers are tripping over themselves to praise Franzen's new ambitious novel with an eye on middle-class America. He's the first living author to grace the cover of Time magazine, since Stephen King did 10 years ago. Franzen, and Freedom, are already HUGE. They don't need no stinkin' Oprah Book Club seal!

Oprah's not the boss of you Jonathan. You can sell books without "corporate ownership" as you so delicately put it way back in 2001. Which makes me wonder -- what kind of unholy alliance is occurring here, and what are both of you getting out of it? 

Are you in Oprah's Book Club and will you read Freedom?

Image via Keith Bedford/Getty

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