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An excerpt from Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads

Read Sunday, 26 Sep 2021


Next month, Franzen will be in conversation with Sarah Kanowski about this groundbreaking new work. Ahead of the conversation’s release, you can read an extract of Crossroads below.

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Jonathan Franzen’s highly-anticipated new book, Crossroads, is the story of an American Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. With characteristic humor and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he explores the history of two generations and conjures a world that resonates powerfully with our own.

Read the first chapter of Crossroads here.

It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless—unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.


To secure a digital pass to watch the digital event with Jonathan Franzen, visit our event page here. The conversation is available to watch from 7.30pm AEDT Tuesday 5 October until 7.30pm AEDT Tuesday 12 October.

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