Today marks the 51st birthday of Jonathan Franzen, the novelist formerly of Webster Groves (although he has not really lived there since he left for college -- in the East of course) and now the author of the much-lauded new novel Freedom. Early reviews in such prominent publications as Publishers Weekly and the New York Times have been favorable and if you pass a newsstand this week, you can see Franzen scowling at you from the cover of Time.
A post on Paper Cuts, the New York Times' book blog, analyzes Franzen's Midwestern roots and provides footage from an episode of KETC-TV's Living St. Louis in which Franzen discusses, among other things, the 1966 documentary Sixteen in Webster Groves and his famous battle with Oprah, which he claims was ignited by his "trying to talk, in a very earnest, straightforward Midwestern way, about the complexity of taste-making in America."
Surely he should have realized that Oprah is a Midwesterner, too, and an extremely powerful one at that? Then again, it has been observed that passive-aggression is also a Midwestern trait.
Check out Franzen's KETC interview after the jump.
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