Review: Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

There’s nothing better than sinking into a big book knowing from the start you’re in the hands of a master. I’ve done it a few times this year ― namely The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon; and more recently Hanya Yanagihara’s 2022 literary epic To Paradise. It’ll come as no surprise that Jonathan Franzen’s latest ― my first sampling of his work ― ranks among these.

Crossroads is the first in an intended trilogy: a great, sweeping family epic that begins here in Christmas 1971, in the small town of New Prospect, Illinois. It’s a time of great cultural upheaval in America; it’s an equally seismic period for the Hilderbrandt family, whose six members suffer the consequences of various individual bad decisions, and misdirected faith.

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