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The Corrections  By  cover art

The Corrections

By: Jonathan Franzen
Narrated by: George Guidall
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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Fiction, 2001

The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century - a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. After almost 50 years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives.

The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing specatcularly at his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain on an affair with a married man - or so her mother fears.

Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to. Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home.

Stretching from the Midwest at midcentury to the Wall Street and Eastern Europe of today, The Corrections brings an old-fashioned world of civic virtue and sexual inhibitions into violent collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental health care, and globalized greed. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.

©2010 Jonathan Franzen (P)2010 Simon and Schuster

What listeners say about The Corrections

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

"Grandly Entertaining"? Really?

Any additional comments?

I do not consider raising my anxiety level to the max by putting me in the midst of the most hopeless and unlovable family I have ever come to know entertaining. If this is a true representation of " the American society and the American soul" we are doomed. The author is amazingly skilled at his ability to portray believable characters. The problem for me was I didn't want to know them. I didn't even want to face the possibility people as despairingly undone as this are among us. I was never more glad when this ended and I could leave their world. The narrator did a fine job of conveying the utter doom of the whole story. As gifted as he is, I fear to read anything else by Franzen. There could be knives too available nearby.

53 people found this helpful

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Uniquely divisive book.

I had heard that Jonathan Franzen was a darling of the New York critics. I didn't listen to this until now, 2018, partly because I have trouble generically listening to heavy tomes, and I also am skeptical of the stuff that the New York establishment is selling so hard. Nonetheless, Franzen and George are a marvelous twosome. The humor in the book is astonishing. Franzen's writing skills are captivating. I keep wanting to remember particular sentences and phrases, how sharply funny his descriptions are, and how George is able to turn the material into some of the funniest stuff I have ever read. I know that some readers will violently disagree with me. Nonetheless, I feel that the characters in the book are so acutely drawn, so deeply understood and explained: I can't think of another book that comes close to this. I laughed continuously at the "Axxon Corporation" road show, and at Gary's rage at his father for accepting a mere $5000 from them for his idea, an idea that is so complicated that I couldn't begin to decipher the techno-chemical-brain transmission jargon being paraded before me. And, Gary's incredibly poignant slip into depression when he has this completely lovely wife: so terrible and yet so brilliantly communicated. And the one son who has become so unbelievably spoiled that his parents are actually afraid of him! Frankenstein lives!
The portrait of New York City and the adventures of Chip, the man who is sliding down the academic slope so far that he winds up going to Lithuania with some criminal/politician: once again just amazing. The scene in which Chip runs away from his apartment where Enid, Alfred and Denise have all come to have lunch with him, solely to chase his cute little sex object and to try to rescue the nightmarishly bad manuscript that he has written: I was stunned. You can have Philip Roth, or John Cheever, or even Richard Russo, whom I love. Franzen is a true prodigy. I remember how funny it was when Portnoy made love to his family's dinner. It seems quaint now. When Gary slobbers all over himself fantasizing about his own wife, and is repulsed by the women who like him and approach him at work: his tension is truly palpable. I am reluctant to use the word genius, and I imagine that it will alienate the disapprovers in the crowd, but this is talent unlike other authors, even the ones who inspire awe and deep admiration in me. Tom Perry is one of these, a man who has effectively invented his own genre, who has compelled us to identify with and root for a man who is a cold, hired killer. I am not comparing these two men, but I am thrilled to live in a time when we can enjoy such gifts as these.
I cautiously recommend this book to you. You may well hate it. If you give it a chance, though, it will reward you with love and pathos and writing so funny that you will laugh, if not out loud, then quietly, with sharp appreciation.



38 people found this helpful

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4.85 stars.........simply fantastic

I would recommend this audiobook to anyone, regardless of the genre you typically enjoy. The story is great, and the narrator does a fantastic job. Guidall has the perfect voice for this performance. I can't stress this enough. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job with this material.

If you are a fan of great stories, great writing, and great narration, then this is the audiobook for you. I recommend it highly. This is my third Franzen book, and all of them are phenomenal. I can't decide which one I like best, but it's probably this one. If you like great literature, download this one today.

Overall rating: 4.85 stars

33 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

ABRIDGED is BETTER and 12 hours shorter

Usually the unabridged version of any book is the best one- -however, after listening to the abridged version of this book, which was 9 hours long, I saw there was a new unabridged version. Of course I thought I had missed a ton of material since the unabridged book is 12 hours longer - so I listened to the unabridged version, which was 21 hours long - I've got to say the additional 12 hours did not add much substance to the book. There was some value in that explanations of some of the events were more understandable, but overall it really was not worth it. Both versions are good, but I would recommend the abridged -it gets you there without all the "fillers"-

The book is a masterpiece of the understanding of human emotions, but also of all the secret motivations that drive our daily lives- -we all have our own agenda's- I applaud the author on his incredible insight.into the human heart and his ability to translate those feelings with such skill.

By the way, the narrator of the Abridged Version is the very best to listen to- he hits the perfect mark everytime on all characters and just the right pauses and tempo!

31 people found this helpful

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Contemporary Literature at it's best

Franzen and Guidall are a perfect formula for a successful literary novel. The Lambert family is so funny, sad, hopeful and disastrous that I was unaware that all the 568 pages had passed me by. Franzen's gift for allowing characters to drift, grow and develop their self awareness have made me a devotee of all his work so far.

Definitely recommended as worth your time and credit.

26 people found this helpful

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Even Guidall couldn't get me far into this one.

The author seemed bent on impressing us with wordplay rather than plot or character development. Sadly, even George Guidall, an excellent narrator, could not keep me engaged.

20 people found this helpful

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Dark, hilarious, excruciating and beautifully read

George Guidall's rendition of this pitch-perfect portrait of neurotic dysfunction is brilliant. Only slightly exaggerated, the interior worlds of these generally unlikeable persons emerge with poignant and uncomfortable clarity.

17 people found this helpful

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A really incredible experience

Would you listen to The Corrections again? Why?

I did not want to like the book because the author seems like an asshole. It was fantastic. An incredible story read by someone who understands the characters.

16 people found this helpful

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A satisfying listen

I really got into this book and it stands out as one of my favorite listens. It's a character driven book and the story and characters felt really true to life in a quirky way. The observations woven into the story on life, family and marriage brought the story to another level for me. Franzen's other book Freedom seems to be more reviewed. I have listened to both and prefer this one. George Guidall does his usual fantastic job as a narrator.

16 people found this helpful

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AMAZING

One of the best books I've listened to all year....well next to Franzen's more recent novel, 'Freedom'. Both are so so so good. Franzen is my favorite author right now. These are the types of listens that will make your next audible purchase very difficult because nothing will be as good.

14 people found this helpful