Jonathan Franzen, 1959–, American novelist, b. Western Springs, Ill., B.A. Swarthmore College, 1981. His first two novels, The Twenty-Seventh City (1988) and Strong Motion (1992), were well received critically but failed to garner a large readership. His next, The Corrections (2001, National Book Award), a sprawling contemporary family saga, won critical plaudits and became a best seller. Freedom (2010), a compelling story of a suburban Midwestern family, was also published to acclaim. To a large degree in contemporary fiction, the realistic, sociologically and psychologically acute description and analysis of the modern family has become Franzen territory. His essays and other nonfiction pieces are collected in How to Be Alone (2002) and Farther Away (2012). His memoir, The Discomfort Zone, appeared in 2006, his translation of Frank Wedekind's play Spring Awakening in 2007, and his translation and commentary on essays by Karl Kraus in 2013.
See L. C. Hill, Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2003); S. J. Burn, Jonathan Franzen at the End of Postmodernism (2008).